Adria staff from Slovenia to be replaced by Adria staff from KosovoThe Association of Adria Airways Cabin Crew has announced that the company is hiring staff from Kosovo, while planning to fire more than 20% of its existing cabin staff in Slovenia. As outlined in the company’s restructuring plan, some 22% of Adria’s workforce will lose their jobs, most of them being cabin crew. The Association argues that they will be replaced by crew from Kosovo. The staff cuts will coincide with destination network reductions which are to be announced soon. While it is now being speculated that some routes from the airline’s Priština base will also be cut, none of the staff from Kosovo will lose their jobs, instead, more are being hired. In a letter addressed to the media, the Association said that cabin crew hired in Priština do not know Slovenian but will operate on flights out of Ljubljana. Furthermore, they claim that as foreigners, crew from Kosovo will not be subject to the terms of the new collective agreement nor the Employment Act which could lead to staff exploitation, thus compromising cabin safety. The Association also asks whether tax payer’s money, to be used for a 50 million Euro bailout, will be spent on hiring foreign nationals while redundancy payments will be offered to Slovenian staff.
Adria Airways opened its base in Priština last summer with flights to several German cities. This summer it extended its offer out of Priština. However, the airline hasn’t recorded good results on most of its routes from Priština as it faces staunch competition from several low cost airlines. Adria cabin crew representatives have requested a meeting with officials from the Slovenian Transport Ministry. After being initially turned down, the Ministry has now invited cabin crew representatives for talks.
Hiring foreign cabin crew to replace in-house employees is not uncommon practice in the aviation industry. Just last month Australian low cost airline Jetstar came under fire after it was revealed it hired crew from Thailand to operate flights within Australia, working double the hours and half the pay. The scandal led an Australian senator to propose a bill to ban foreign based cabin crew to serve on Australian domestic flights. Similarly, several US airlines have come under fire for replacing American cabin crew with those from India.