Swiss (LX, Zurich) will terminate an existing Collective Labour Agreement (CLA) signed in 2013 with its Aeropers union in November 2016 following the failure of the latest round of talks. The move is the latest in a series of labour-oriented disputes to rock the Lufthansa Group.

Swiss said in a statement that following the announcement of a new comprehensive CLA agreement with its other pilot union, IPG, in June concerning the introduction of new AC!CS1s and B777-300(ER)s, it had persisted in talks with Aeropers in the hopes of accommodating its members' demands.

Aeropers members rejected the proposed new universal CLA claiming Swiss' decision to operate its B777 fleet under its Swiss European Air Lines (SWU, Zurich) subsidiary, dominated by IPG members, was tantamount to an attack on Aeropers' membership. It added that a similar decision to reduce its A320 fleet would benefit Swiss European Air Lines pilots at the expense of Swiss International crew.

However, Swiss management says it was forced to make the decision following months of fruitless talks.

"In view of the irreconcilable differences in standpoints, and also of Aeropers’ repeated announcements that it would take legal action against Swiss, the company saw no option but to serve notice to terminate the present CLA with the association at the end of November 2016," it said.

For its part, Aeropers labelled the decision "surprising" adding that it is further evidence of the airline's German management's plan to undermine the Swiss value of social partnership.

"The dismissal, at this stage, is a further sign of the ignorance of social partnership exhibited by the Executive Board of Swiss. Such behavior serves to promote distrust of management by employees," Rolf Odermatt, President of Aeropers, said.

Swiss has assured affected pilots that the present CLA, and all its provisions, will remain fully in force until the end of November 2016.

Both parties have indicated their willingness to find an agreeable outcome to the dispute.