OA flies through turbulence

Flight stewards at Olympic Airlines (OA) agreed yesterday to resume normal working hours, ending a three-day period in which some 60 flights were canceled due to flight attendants’ refusal to work overtime. After a lengthy meeting with the airline’s management, the stewards said that they have agreed to resume their duties ahead of the signing of the collective wage agreement scheduled for the end of July. «We believe that as of tomorrow (today), the situation will be back to normal as we wait for a positive response from management when signing the collective wage agreement,» Giorgos Tsoukaladakis, secretary of the seasonal air stewards group, told Kathimerini. The dispute arose over the weekend when flight attendants refused to work overtime or come into work on their days off, creating long delays and cancellations of international and domestic flights. OA said that a number of passengers had been notified in advance about the changes in flight schedules. The workers have asked that bonuses they receive be recorded as part of their salaries, in a bid to strengthen their negotiating position in the next switchover of the company’s senior management. Olympic said in an statement yesterday that with the help of flight attendants and the new staff to be introduced, the company will be able to cover the increased needs during the busy summer season. Workers estimate that staffing needs increase by 30 percent during the summer. The airline has said that it has already hired 100 seasonal stewards and stewardesses who will begin working on July 10, once their training has finished. The future of the state-owned air carrier is in doubt after the European Commission ordered Greece last year to recover 540 million euros in illegal state aid paid to the company, putting its future in grave danger.

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