Lufthansa's Swiss unit could cut 15% of jobs - Sonntagszeitung

FILE PHOTO: Members of the Swiss VPOD public services workers trade union display placards and wave flags during a demonstration of workers in the aviation sector in front of Zurich Airport, Switzerland September 11, 2020. REUTERS/Arnd Wiegmann/File Photo

VIENNA (Reuters) - Lufthansa's LHAG.DE Swiss unit could cut up to 15% of its 9,500 jobs if it cannot agree salary cuts with staff as it seeks to meet strict savings targets in the wake of the coronavirus crisis, Swiss weekly Sonntagszeitung said on Sunday.

“It is our target to get through the crisis with as many employees as possible,” the paper quoted a spokesman for Swiss as saying. “We have to cut costs by around 20%. We are not only focusing on personnel costs, but on every unit of the company.”

Swiss did not immediately reply to a Reuters request for comment.

There has been a first round of negotiations on temporary adjustments to working conditions and an overhaul of the benefits plan, a spokesman for Swiss union VPOD which represents ground staff told Reuters.

“Swiss has declared that it must achieve 15% cost savings. How this will be achieved is not yet clear,” he said.

Swiss parent Lufthansa has pledged a restructure ranging from thousands of job cuts to asset sales, as it seeks to repay a 9 billion euro ($11 billion) state bailout and navigate deepening losses in the face of the pandemic.

The Swiss parliament in May backed 1.275 billion Swiss francs ($1.40 billion) in aid for Swiss to help curb revenue losses from the coronavirus pandemic.

Reporting by Kirsti Knolle; Editing by Alexandra Hudson