Thursday , 21 September 2023
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Global Economy

Pilots go on strike

After the collective bargaining committee of the Cockpit Association (VC) rejected an improved offer from Lufthansa, the threatened pilot strikes have become even more likely. Lufthansa submitted a new offer in the morning, which the Cockpit association considered insufficient despite "a step in the right direction", the union said after two days of consultations by its committees. Preparations for strike action had begun. After the corresponding decision of the board of directors, strikes are now possible with immediate effect. The Cockpit Association left open when and where the strike should take place.

According to the union, 97.6 percent voted in favor of the industrial action in a ballot in the Lufthansa passage. In the case of the smaller Lufthansa Cargo, it was even 99.3 percent. According to the Cockpit Association, participation was 93 percent. At least 70 percent of those entitled to vote must agree to a walkout.

Deadlocked negotiations

"The legal and organizational preparations for strike action have been started. Nevertheless, it is clear that the Cockpit Association can still be reached," said the pilots' union.

The official reason is the deadlock after six rounds of negotiations on a new wage agreement. There was even an exploratory round behind closed doors up until the end of last week – with no result. A Lufthansa spokeswoman emphasized that the company was available at any time to continue the talks and to discuss the "flexible design" of the offer.

Conflict about corporate strategy

The Cockpit Association is demanding salary increases of 5.5 percent in the current year and automatic inflation compensation from 2023. The union had terminated the previous collective agreement on June 30.

There is also a conflict about the corporate strategy. In the past, the union had obtained a guarantee that exactly 325 aircraft could only be flown by captains and first officers who are subject to the group collective bargaining agreement.

Strike also possible at Eurowings

Lufthansa canceled this additional agreement because of the corona crisis and set up a new airline with lower tariff conditions – "Cityline 2". This is to take over flights within Europe.

The Cockpit Association is also preparing for a strike at the largest Lufthansa subsidiary, Eurowings. The ballot of the pilots is to be counted there on August 31st.

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