The pilots' union Vereinigung Cockpit (VC) votes on a possible strike by Sunday. Then the ballot will end, said VC collective bargaining board member Marcel Gröls in an interview with "Spiegel". "If the majority of pilots are in favor of it, that doesn't mean that there will be a strike. But it's a warning signal. And: We're not bluffing."
The conflict between the union and Lufthansa is about the collective bargaining that has been going on for months – the result: six failed rounds of negotiations. If Lufthansa management doesn't make a good offer, the airline's cockpit staff will have no choice but to go on strike, Gröls said. "We are ready to talk. But our patience is limited."
demands of the pilots
The union is demanding 5.5 percent more salary for 2022 and automatic inflation compensation. But the pilots are also concerned with Lufthansa's corporate strategy. The pilots are pushing for a uniform tariff structure. In the past, the Vereinigung Cockpit union 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, the airline had terminated this agreement and started to set up new flight operations with lower fare conditions under the crane logo.
Instead of reducing complexity through fewer flight operations, as Lufthansa boss Carsten Spohr was striving for before the Corona crisis, two new ones were founded, said Gröls. "We claim: only to circumvent collective agreements." The top management is artificially separating the team instead of creating a powerful, uniform organization. "Rather, the goal must be to raise the best remuneration to the benchmark and to introduce other groups of employees."
When will there be a strike?
If more than 70 percent of the union members entitled to vote agree in the ballot, the course is set for a possible labor dispute. Then indefinite strikes threaten. Six years ago, Lufthansa pilots paralyzed the airline's air traffic for six days during a strike. At the time, the wave of strikes lasting several days affected more than half a million passengers, and around 4,500 flights were canceled.
The warning strike by the ver.di trade union, which was scheduled to last until Thursday morning in the wage conflict of Lufthansa ground staff, only yesterday caused massive flight cancellations, especially in Frankfurt and Munich. This is exacerbating the already tense situation in air traffic. The onslaught of holidaymakers can hardly be coped with due to a lack of staff.