In a bizarre story, Wizz Air, a low cost European Airline with its headquarters in Budapest , has come under intense scrutiny as the Norwegian Prime Miniter Erna Solberg made it absolutely clear that Wizz Air cannot stop its employees from being a part of a Union. The airline currently serves 44 countries and has the largest fleet of any Hungarian airline. Their parent company Wizz Air Holdings Plc is based in Jersey and is listed on the London Stock Exchange.
The airline came into limelight when they announced new routes from Oslo to Bergen and Tromso and made it clear that the company will not enter into any agreements with the trade unions, the unions then wanted to boycott these domestic routes.
Coming out in support of the unions Prime Minster Erna Solberg said in the parliament “I will not fly with a company that refuses workers the right to organise,” She supports the boycott and continues saying “In the same way that I have never flown with Ryanair. Because ten years ago, I said that it was unacceptable for me to travel with airlines that do not have proper and tidy working conditions for their employees.” The Norwegian PM made it amply clear that the Norwegian law states that Wizz Air cannot refuse the employees a right to organise.
The Norwegian labor party’s fiscal policy spokesperson Hadia Tajik called Jozsef Varadi’s (Founder and CEO of Wizz Air) statements “outdated and anti worker.” she further added “It shows a complete lack of understanding of Norway’s success story and the working life model.”
After some back and forth the airline seemed to change its stance on the unions, allowing its employees in Norway to unionise after all the drama. Johan Eidhagen, HR, Director Wizz Air, told a local news agency Norway Today, “We fully respect the Norwegian working life model and will of course comply with the Norwegian regulations.”
Whatever the outcome, it was great to see the Norwegian parliament and especially the Prime minister herself stand up for the workers and the betterment of the unions at a time when most countries and governments are seen bull dozing over the trade unions during the present Covid-19 crisis.