There are currently long queues, delays and flight cancellations at many airports across Europe. Up until now, the main reason has been a lack of staff. Sometimes the employees are missing, sometimes the airlines have offered overly ambitious flight schedules. Airlines like Lufthansa have therefore canceled thousands of flights.
A strike by the largest German airline could now cause additional frustration among travelers. In the middle of the main travel season, the Vereinigung Cockpit (VC) union wants to start a ballot among the around 5,000 pilots of the core company Lufthansa and the freight subsidiary Lufthansa Cargo. This emerges from an internal paper that is available to the dpa news agency.
Pilots want automated inflation compensation
Should the pilots agree, indefinite strikes would be possible. However, both sides emphasized their willingness to continue talks. A spokesman for the MDAX group said that they are still striving for a solution at the negotiating table. They are sticking to the agreed negotiation plan.
The reason for the strike preparations of the VC are the deadlocked after six rounds of negotiations about a new wage agreement. According to the letter, Lufthansa has not yet submitted a negotiable offer. According to its own statements, the VC demands, among other things, salary increases of five percent in the current year and an automated inflation adjustment from the coming year. She had terminated the current contract on June 30th.
Conflict about future corporate strategy
In the background, there is also a conflict about the future corporate strategy. In the past, VC had had the exact number of 325 aircraft guaranteed, which may only be flown by captains and first officers who are subject to the group collective agreement.
Under the impression of the Corona crisis, Lufthansa had terminated the corresponding agreement and started to set up new flight operations with lower tariff conditions under the crane logo. The new airline is to take over essential tasks of the previous core company in European traffic.
The aftermath of the SAS strike
The consequences of a pilots' strike for passengers could recently be observed using the example of SAS. Around 900 SAS pilots from Denmark, Norway and Sweden went on strike in early July. Hundreds of flights by the Scandinavian airline had to be canceled as a result, and thousands of passengers were unable to travel.
The strike also had serious consequences for the company: According to the airline, the strike cost the airline between nine and twelve million dollars a day. On July 5, SAS also declared bankruptcy because of the financial impact of the strike and filed for bankruptcy protection in the United States.