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TAP cabin staff to strike on Dec. 8-9, plan more walkouts until end-Jan

FILE PHOTO: TAP planes are seen at Lisbon's airport

LISBON (Reuters) - Cabin staff at Portugal's flag carrier TAP will go on strike on Thursday and Friday to demand higher wages after pay cuts under the airline's recovery plan, the SNPVAC union said, adding it would schedule more walkouts later.

"We want an end to the financial constraints to which workers are being subjected. The 25% salary cut we suffered due to the company's restructuring plan is unacceptable, especially given current inflation levels," SNPVAC head Ricardo Penarroias told Reuters on Tuesday.

The union had previously warned TAP of this week's possible labour action, leading to the cancellation of 360 flights by the company on those two days, and on Tuesday confirmed it would go ahead with the stoppage. Thursday is a public holiday in Portugal.

TAP usually flies around 300 flights a day.

Penarroias said cabin crews would also stage walkouts on at least five more days until the end of January, but the exact dates are yet to be specified.

The union is also demanding the company unfreeze pay progression, and respect maternity leave and rest periods.

Surging inflation across Europe has led to millions of workers struggling with higher costs of living, prompting unions to demand pay increases, often via strikes and protests.

The pace of consumer price growth slowed in November in Portugal but inflation is still near three-decade highs.

TAP, which is under an EU-approved 3.2-billion euro bailout plan, has also advised passengers to reschedule their bookings. The plan involves downsizing its fleet, cutting more than 2,900 jobs and reducing wages of most workers by up to 25%.

The company posted a rare net profit in the third quarter on strong revenue and helped by currency hedging, but said visibility for next year remained low.

(Reporting by Patricia Vicente Rua; Editing by Andrei Khalip and David Evans)