LONDON – In the wake of Wizz Air’ (W6) move last week entering the Norwegian domestic market, and the Norwegian Pilots union responding negatively, Norwegian Prime Minister Erna Solberg (H) said in a parliament meeting this morning, “I will not fly with an airline [Wizz Air] who refuse their workers to unionize.”
“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,” she continued.
Solberg made it clear that according to Norwegian law, W6 cannot refuse employees to organize. The backdrop is statements from Wizz Air CEO József Váradi that W6 “is an airline without unions.” The statement came when the company presented its plans for domestic routes in Norway.
The LO union Industri Energi is behind the call for a boycott of the Hungarian low-cost company.
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
Solberg’s boycott response comes to questions from Jonas Gahr Støre (AP), “This company is on its way in, it will establish itself in Norway. What signals does it send that we get an actor with these attitudes? What is the Prime Minister’s attitude and what does she intend to do with this very unfortunate relationship?” Jonas Gahr Støre asked in the parliament on Wednesday.
“It is not the owners or managers of companies who decide whether people are organized. It is people themselves, those who are employed, who decide that they should be organized,” Solberg said.
“The Hungarian leader should take this with him. This is how we feel in Norway, this is Norwegian culture,” said Jonas Gahr Støre.
From Oslo, W6 will now fly routes to Bergen four times a day, to Tromsø four times a day and to Trondheim twice a day.
“It is illegal to deny trade union organizations in Norway. There is no doubt about that either. It is the individual person and group of employees who decide whether they want to organize. Everyone has the right to demand a collective agreement at their workplace,” Solberg said in the parliament.
“In Norway, freedom of association is fundamental,” she maintained.
Wizz Air CEO Responding
Wizz Air’s founder and CEO József Váradi has previously responded to criticism from those who want to boycott the company.
“Trade unions are not my thing. They do what we do, if they want to boycott us then I do not care about it,” Váradi told DN yesterday.
Featured image: Wizz Air first Airbus A321-271N HA-LVA spotted in Hamburg airport. Photo: Dirk Grothe