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Lufthansa Pilots to Strike on Friday, Sept. 2

Lufthansa Group

German air carrier Lufthansa’s pilots will go on a 24-hour strike on Friday over an ongoing pay dispute with the company.

The pilots' union Vereinigung Cockpit (VC) said Thursday that the latest talks with the management have failed to make any headway.

“Lufthansa must present a significantly improved offer," negotiator Marcel Groels said in a statement, adding that the positions of the management and the union were “too far apart” at the moment.

He said the collective bargaining commission is demanding compensation for the loss of real wages and internationally competitive remuneration structure in all occupational groups.

The German pilots’ union Vereinigung Cockpit (VC) has called on its members at Lufthansa and Lufthansa Cargo to strike from 00:01 to 23:59 CET on 2 September. This will affect Lufthansa and Lufthansa Cargo departures at German airports.

Michael Niggemann, Chief Human Resources Officer and Labor Director of Deutsche Lufthansa AG said, "We cannot understand VC's call for a strike. The management has made a very good and socially balanced offer – despite the continuing burdens of the Covid crisis and uncertain prospects for the global economy. This escalation comes at the expense of many thousands of customers."

Specifically, the Group has presented an offer with an 18-month term, in which pilots at Lufthansa and Lufthansa Cargo will receive a total of 900 euros more in basic pay per month in two stages. This will benefit entry-level salaries in particular. An entry-level co-pilot will receive more than 18 percent additional basic pay over the duration of the agreement, while a captain in the final stage will receive five percent. With the agreement for the ground staff, the Group has shown that it is prepared to make significant pay increases.

As an alternative, VC has been offered the option of allocating all or part of this volume elsewhere, for example for structural changes such as adjustments to the pay scale.

In addition, the Group is offering VC the opportunity to jointly conclude a new Perspective Agreement (German: ‘Perspektivvereinbarung’ / PPV), which guarantees cockpit personnel at Lufthansa and Lufthansa Cargo cockpit personnel a minimum fleet size.

VC demands would increase payroll costs by more than 40 percent

In contrast, VC is not only demanding a 5.5 percent wage increase by the end of the year as a first step, but also additional compensation above inflation as of January 2023. According to current estimates, this would increase the payroll cost for cockpit personnel at Lufthansa and Lufthansa Cargo by a good 16 percent over the two-year period proposed by VC.

In addition, VC is demanding, among other things, a new pay scale with a higher base salary as well as more money, for example, for sick days, vacation or training. In addition to the 16 percent, this would increase cockpit payroll costs by a further 25 percentage points based on data from previous years. Even without taking the financial consequences of the Covid crisis into account, this is not acceptable.

In total, the demands of VC would increase cockpit payroll costs from 2.2 billion euros by probably more than 40 percent – or approximately 900 million euros – over the next two years.
Massive investments at Lufthansa and Lufthansa Cargo for years

Nowhere in the Group has there been more investment than in job growth at Lufthansa and Lufthansa Cargo. Since 2010, around 60 percent of all new aircraft have been deployed at these two flight operations. By 2024, the Group expects 33 new, state-of-the-art long-haul aircraft, all of which will go to Lufthansa, along with the associated jobs.

Between 2010 and the start of the Covid crisis, for example, the number of cockpit jobs at Lufthansa and Lufthansa Cargo grew by 18 percent, and by as much as 45 percent at the Munich hub. This growth is also reflected in the recent past: since 2017 and the conclusion of the Perspective Agreement with Vereinigung Cockpit, not only have nearly 700 co-pilots been hired at Lufthansa and Lufthansa Cargo, but also 400 already employed co-pilots have been made captains, thus developing careers. New captain positions will also be created this year – a total of 125.

"We want to continue this growth with our cockpit colleagues at Lufthansa and Lufthansa Cargo," says Michael Niggemann.

"We want to find solutions at the negotiating table – our offers on the collective pay agreement or also on an overall agreement including a new Perspective Agreement are a good basis for continuing talks with VC."

 

 

 

 

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