Groundforce informed the workers’ representative organizations that its April wages are insured, with some “gymnastics”, and that it estimates having a loss of 15 million euros this year, a forecast conditioned by several factors, such as the recovery.
Groundforce’s Workers Commission (CT) and the unions met, on Monday, with the executive president of the handling company (airport assistance), Paulo Leite, and with the Human Resources director, Eric Teixeira, where they were told that wages “will be insured in April, with some ‘gymnastics'”, according to a statement sent by CT.
“The company’s loss in the year 2020 was 20 million euros, with an estimated loss of 15 million euros for 2021 (forecast very conditioned by factors such as recovery, vaccination, possible new vacancies, etc.)”, he says the same note, adding that “the company remains committed to obtaining the financing of 30 million euros, in order to be able to face the near future with stability”.
The workers’ representatives were also informed that the company will remain in the support mechanism for the recovery in April, still falling into the higher level of this support, due to a drop in activity of more than 75%.
According to a joint communiqué from the unions, about 400 workers will continue to work with a 100% reduction in hours and more than 600 with a reduction of more than 50%.
However, according to CT, the company foresees an increase in activity in May, being scheduled by the airlines, namely by the biggest customer, TAP, a gradual growth of its operation over the months, and it is estimated, in July , operate 67% of flights performed in the same month of 2019.
Regarding the additional to the remuneration compensation – paid 100% by Social Security up to three national minimum wages – the structures learned that the support will not be paid yet this month, since Social Security only transferred the amount in the last days and “Numerous discrepancies have been identified that are being corrected so that in April processing the additional payments due for January, February and March are paid”.
“The values released to the public regarding the rental of equipment were confirmed, which leaves us with a huge concern, because if the company is going through enormous financial difficulties, paying a monthly income of almost 600 thousand euros, only aggravates these difficulties”, defended that structure .
In order to be able to pay the overdue wages and the most pressing cash needs, SPdH (Portuguese Handling Services, commercially known as Groundforce Portugal) and TAP signed, on March 19, an agreement that provides for the purchase of equipment handling company for seven million euros.
Since it cannot work without the equipment, Groundforce will now have to rent it from TAP, which is demanding 461,762 euros per month.
The Minister of Infrastructure and Housing, Pedro Nuno Santos, said last week in parliament that it is necessary to find a “structural solution” for Groundforce, whose financial situation was harmed by the covid-19 pandemic and the restrictive measures to air circulation, admitting, however, that the issue “is not easy”.
Groundforce is 50.1% owned by Pasogal and 49.9% by the TAP group, which in 2020 became 72.5% owned by the Portuguese State and which is a minority shareholder and the main client of the company that provides assistance at Lisbon, Porto, Faro, Funchal and Porto Santo airports.