As reported by The Reykjavik Grapevine, Icelandair has fired all of its flight attendants, as the company will instead try to find “another party in the Icelandic labor market” to replace current employees.
As of July 20, 2020, and until further notice, Icelandair will use pilots to replace flight attendants, as they’ll be focused on overseeing cabins:
- Since Icelandair is only operating a limited schedule at the moment, the airline has surplus pilots
- At the moment inflight service is extremely limited due to coronavirus, so it’s not like these pilots will have a whole lot of work to do
The decision to fire all flight attendants comes after members of Icelandair’s flight attendant union voted against a collective bargaining agreement about a year ago. Management and flight attendants have been unable to come to an agreement regarding wages and time off.
Icelandair executives claim they’ve done everything they can to meet the demands of flight attendants, describing the decision as “heavy but necessary.” Meanwhile it’s said that Icelandair management had been considering starting to negotiate with another union, which wasn’t well received.
In response to Icelandair’s decision to fire all flight attendants, the head of the Icelandic Confederation of Labour said that they are “exploring every avenue to prevent this. This is unbelievably shameless on Icelandair’s part. It shows disrespect for the workers and disrespect for the rules in place regarding the Icelandic labour market and those in the midst of negotiations.”
This is obviously a really tough in the airline industry in general. It’s especially sad to see something like this happen. Hopefully this decision is reconsidered, and management and flight attendants can come to an agreement.
In the meantime, it sure would be unusual to see a bunch of captains with four stripes on their uniforms sitting in flight attendant jumpseats…