BRUSSELS - Following attacks on workers’ rights and the freedom of association by Wizz Air in Ukraine, the European Transport Workers’ Federation (ETF) and International Transport Workers’ Federation (ITF) urge authorities to take action. In July, four trade union members and leaders were dismissed in Kyiv, exposing the company’s anti-union attitudes yet again.
“We employ totally appropriately, we are totally lawful,” Wizz Air CEO József Váradi claimed just yesterday in an online interview organised by Eurocontrol. The company’s recent actions in Ukraine call this assertion into question. In May, an aircrew trade union was registered in Ukraine, representing Wizz Air’s workers in the Kyiv base. Management immediately launched an anti-union campaign that culminated in July, with the dismissal of four workers: Yuliia Batalina (head of the union), Artem Tryhub (a union council member), Hanna Teremenko (the deputy head of union), and Andriy Chumakov (a union member).
“This is a clear attack on all Wizz Air workers’ right to organise and an extreme intimidation tactic,” said Josef Maurer, ETF Head of Aviation. “All of them were Wizz Air employees for years. They were all hard-working crew members, as proven by their past evaluations and involvement in company activities.”
This is not the first time Wizz Air has acted against unions. In March 2019, the Supreme Court in Romania ruled that Wizz Air was discriminating against workers based on their trade union membership. “The Romanian case proves that Wizz Air is not above the law. Workers united in their struggle for their basic rights have won before, and they will do so again,” concluded Eoin Coates, ITF Civil Aviation Assistant Secretary.
In cooperation with the dismissed workers, ETF and ITF launched an online petition. Both union federations are calling on Ukrainian authorities to investigate the union-busting and wider allegations of labour law violations and ensure that Wizz Air abides by Ukrainian labour law.