Investors, including Danish pension fund AkademikerPension and Britain’s Ardevora Asset Management, said freedom of union is enshrined in a number of global and regional agreements and laws. However, their survey indicated that the company is blocking employees entering them.
Wizz Air has not yet responded to a request for comment.
In the letter, investors cited six examples from 2014, when a Romanian court fined the company after laying off 19 employees shortly after unions were formed. The message also quotes CEO Joseph Vardy, who said in June 2020 that the company “unions are overlooked everywhere”because “kill work“.
In April 2021, Wizz Air rejected calls from trade unions in Italy to agree a work contract and told the local ministry that it planned to operate without cooperation with unions.
„Respecting the rights of employees is ultimately about taking care of the safety of passengers,Said Jens Munch-Holst, CEO of AkademikerPension, a Danish fund of $23 billion (20.34 billion euros).
“There is increasing evidence that employees are prevented from joining unions or fired when they do. This is totally unacceptable.” added.
Although investors have acknowledged that the company has sought to manage labor relations through an internal body known as the Wizz People Council, they have expressed concerns about its effectiveness in informing managers of employee issues.
In particular, investors pointed to a recent report from whistleblowers who expressed concerns about flight safety due to pilot fatigue.
„Recognizing the freedom of employees to form and join unions is not only a legal and ethical responsibility of the employer, but it is also an important risk mitigation strategy,“The letter called for Wizz Air to publicly and formally recognize the rights of employees to form and join unions and to commit to non-discrimination on the basis of union membership.”
AkademikerPension’s Holst added that if the board refused to act, his fund would forfeit its stake in Wizz Air and put the company on the exclusion list.
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