Majority to strike: Pilots increase pressure on Lufthansa

Majority to strike: Pilots increase pressure on Lufthansa

majority to strike

There is a risk of further turmoil in the European aviation industry: at Lufthansa, the German parent company of the AUA, a pilot strike is looming. In voting, the voting members of the Cockpit Association (VC) voted in favor of a labor dispute with a very clear majority. A strike is not imminent, but it could happen in the summer.

07.31.2022 13.35

Online since today, 1:35 pm

This means that a strike of around 5,000 pilots on Lufthansa’s flagship brand is possible with immediate effect, but this was not initially requested from the Executive Board. Even before the count, VC fare expert Marcel Gröls had explained that it was initially a “red flag” for Lufthansa’s management. “Good offers” are now expected from management.

In Lufthansa’s passenger division, 97.6% of participants voted in favor of the strike. At the freight subsidiary Cargo, approval was even higher, with 99.3%. The union reported on Sunday after counting the votes. According to the union, participation was over 93% in both flight operations. The approval of more than 70 percent of all those entitled to vote was required.

Salary negotiations stalled

According to sources, the pilots’ union may be ready for a strike before the end of the holiday season. In previous years, September was also usually a particularly busy month, so a strike at this time would also have a severe impact on the company.

The reason for the preparations for the VC strike is the impasse after six rounds of negotiations on a new salary agreement. From the union’s point of view, Lufthansa has not yet submitted a negotiable offer. According to its own statements, the VC requires, among other things, salary increases of 5.5% in the current year and an automatic readjustment of inflation starting next year. She had terminated the previous collective agreement on June 30.

Dispute over cheapest airline

In the background, there is also a conflict over future corporate strategy. In the past, VC had guaranteed the exact number of 325 aircraft, which can only be flown by the approximately 5,000 captains and first officers who are subject to the collective group agreement. Under the imprint of the coronavirus crisis, Lufthansa terminated the corresponding agreement and began setting up a new flight operation (AOC) with lower fare conditions under the crane logo. The new airline, known internally as “Cityline 2”, is expected to take over the main tasks of the previous flagship in European traffic.

Ground crew warning strike on Wednesday

The Cockpit Association saw the result as evidence of strong support for the objectives of the Group’s Collective Bargaining Committee. “We now need a modern, fair and internationally competitive pay structure across all professional groups,” explained Gröls. A positive vote does not necessarily lead to a strike. But it is an unmistakable sign to Lufthansa that it takes the needs of cockpit personnel seriously.

It was only on Wednesday that the ver.di union nearly brought the flight operations of Germany’s biggest airline to a standstill for an entire day with a strike alerting ground personnel. More than 1,000 flights were canceled and around 134,000 passengers had to change their travel plans. ver.di had not held a vote beforehand. Businesses and politicians have criticized the duration and scope of the work stoppages. Negotiations are expected to resume on Wednesday.