Thousands of Lufthansa pilots can breathe a sigh of relief shortly before Christmas: The approximately 5,000 pilots of the core company are protected from redundancies for operational reasons until the end of March 2022.
The airline, shaken by the corona crisis, and the pilots union Vereinigung Cockpit (VC) agreed on a crisis collective agreement, as both sides announced in Frankfurt.
In return for protection against dismissal, Lufthansa can extend the short-time working until the end of next year, reduce working hours with corresponding wage cuts and suspend wage increases. Lufthansa Chief Human Resources Officer Michael Niggemann spoke of a “further substantial contribution made by the cockpit employees to crisis management.”
VC President Markus Wahl was relieved “that despite an extremely unyielding management, we managed to secure the cockpit staff against redundancies for operational reasons at least until March 31, 2022.”
In contrast to the unions Ufo and Verdi, VC initially only agreed on a short-term restructuring collective agreement for the current year. A longer-term agreement has been negotiated since September. Lufthansa had threatened that without an agreement, around 500 captains and 500 first officers would have to leave the company in the second quarter of 2021.
The union put the pilots’ savings contribution at up to more than 450 million euros. Together with the package for 2020, savings of up to more than 600 million euros would result.
The crisis collective agreement, which was concluded practically at the last minute, applies to pilots from Lufthansa, Lufthansa Cargo, Lufthansa Aviation Training and around 320 pilots from Germanwings who fall under the previous group collective agreement. According to a Lufthansa spokesman, an agreement is being worked on for the other Germanwings pilots.
The crisis collective agreement runs until the end of March 2022 and Lufthansa can extend it by three months. According to VC, a pot filled with 24 million euros was also agreed to finance socially acceptable measures in the event of staff cuts. The Lufthansa Executive Board has yet to approve the agreement. According to its own information, the union is not planning any member survey.
Lufthansa and the union want to continue the talks in the coming year. “We want to use the term of the crisis collective agreement to agree sustainable structural solutions with Vereinigung Cockpit as a reaction to the changed framework conditions and to be able to avoid dismissals even after the term,” announced Niggemann. According to a union spokesman, basic solutions should also be found for the Germanwings pilots whose flight operations are not to be resumed.
Like the entire industry, the crane line was hit hard by the corona pandemic. After three quarters, the company rescued by the state has already posted a loss of 5.6 billion euros in the current year and is traveling with a significantly limited range of flights. After the sale of the catering business in Europe, around 109,000 people are still employed at Lufthansa.
The company had already agreed on long-term savings contributions from the staff with the flight attendants’ union Ufo and the service union Verdi. The approximately 35,000 ground workers have to forego some of their wages and will be protected against layoffs until the end of March 2022. The agreement with UFO includes four-year protection against dismissal for the cabin crew in return for savings measures of more than half a billion euros by the end of 2023.
© dpa-infocom, dpa: 201223-99-796292 / 3 (dpa)