Press Release of 23 February 2024

Departure of Swiss CEO Dieter Vranckx

The trade union SEV-GATA draws an ambiguous conclusion and calls for making Switzerland a stronger location for the aviation industry.

Yesterday night, Swiss announced that after only three years as the Swiss CEO, Dieter Vranckx will be transferred to the parent company Lufthansa. He will become vice-president of the Board of Directors and thus continue to have a say in Swiss' fate. While the airline's communications department considers the "Vranckx era" to have been a positive one, the SEV-GATA ground staff union draws a more ambiguous conclusion, especially in terms of personnel management.

"As was to be expected based on his reputation, the clever CEO Dieter Vranckx initiated drastic reorganization measures shortly after taking office," says Philipp Hadorn, President of SEV-GATA and SEV trade union secretary. "However, as the technocrat that he is, Dieter Vranckx was responsible for some fatal miscalculations during the pandemic. Contrary to several official declarations of intent, mass layoffs were implemented despite the fact that the staff were willing to make sacrifices. The mass layoff in 2021 was a big mistake which led to massive staff shortages during the ‘ramp up’ when aviation started going back to normal. The shortage led to unacceptable expectations concerning flexibility and extra hours from the remaining employees."

Numerous positions and divisions have been understaffed, which has put a heavy burden on many employees, while Swiss, on the other hand, achieved financial dream results. But the the staff were granted only limited participation in the company's success. This has led to frustration, incomprehension, and a remarkable alienation from management among many employees. "The quality of the social partnership has not been able to develop further during Vranckx's term of office," notes Philipp Hadorn. "At the end of 2023, tensions even culminated in an interruption of wage negotiations for 2024, because Swiss' management did not want to provide adequate participation in the company's record result, which is scheduled to be communicated within the next few days." Contrary to Swiss's announcement, the currently valid CLA for ground staff was not negotiated and put into effect during the Vranckx era, but still in the era of his predecessor.

SEV-GATA expects the new CEO to duly safeguard the interests of the Swiss aviation industry in the ongoing restructuring of the Lufthansa Group and thus do justice to the loyalty of the employees, as well as the governmental support with taxpayers' money. "Furthermore, it is important to finally live up to a true social partnership based on national standards, i. e. to conduct negotiations on an equal footing between equal partners," notes Hadorn. "If the company's management style is not adjusted, the union will resort to adopting a ‘northern style’ of escalation to represent interests."

Further Information :
Philipp Hadorn, President SEV-GATA & Trade Union Secretary SEV, 079 600 96 70