The Portuguese Air Force has begun to fly home to the Azores and Madeira thousands of emigrant workers stranded in Lisbon by the strike by pilots and cabin crew of the national airline Transporters Aereos Portuguese (TAP), which began on Thursday (22 December).
GV ZOOM IN TO Grounded TAP aircraft at Lisbon Airport
GV Crowded car park ZOOM IN TO GV crowds outside Lisbon airport
SV People seated on luggage outside airport and waiting around (2 shots)
GV Crowded interior of airport terminal-people waiting (2 shots)
SV PAN People seated on luggage in foyer
GV EXT Airport building with people in window ZOOM OUT TO people seated on luggage
TAP pilots want their salaries doubled. They claim they are the worst paid in the world and have had no increases since 1972. Its Boeing 727 captains earn an average of 40,000 escudos (975 U.S. dollars) a month. The strike began after talks, which began last September between the pilots' union and management, broke down. A three-day strike in September ended when TAP promised to negotiate. Other TAP workers received pay rises in 1974, 1975 and 1977. The financial loss to the airline of the strike is an estimated 500,000 U.S. dollars a day.
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Background: The Portuguese Air Force has begun to fly home to the Azores and Madeira thousands of emigrant workers stranded in Lisbon by the strike by pilots and cabin crew of the national airline Transporters Aereos Portuguese (TAP), which began on Thursday (22 December). The pilots and crew have been striking for a 100 per cent pay rise and better working conditions. They claim they are the lowest paid air crews in the world. The Government replied it could not offer more than 40 per cent. TAP management declared an "open skies" policy during the strike enabling foreign airlines to increase flights, put on larger aircraft and carry passengers on domestic routes previously closed to them.
SYNOPSIS: Emergency efforts were being made by the Portuguese government to arbitrate in the dispute, the second TAP strike in three months.
The indefinite strike by 340 pilots and more than 1,300 cabin crew stranded thousands at Lisbon Airport. Long queues of people hoping to be home in time for Christmas were faced with the prospect of no flights at all. They waited in hopeful groups in the airport lounges.
Portuguese workers abroad and those from the islands, working on the mainland, traditionally travel home for Christmas. It is these who have been hit hardest by the dispute. The strike has been condemned by both the outgoing Socialist government of Mario Soares and the Communist Party. As the strike entered its second day, the Air Force intervention and airlift with three transport aircraft had taken 480 passengers to Madeira.