Airline: Unresolved collective bargaining disputes: new risk of strikes at Lufthansa

There are no signs of a quick solution to the collective bargaining dispute over Lufthansa ground staff.

Airline: Unresolved collective bargaining disputes: new risk of strikes at Lufthansa

There are no signs of a quick solution to the collective bargaining dispute over Lufthansa ground staff. Lufthansa's new offer has not improved the situation, said Verdi negotiator Marvin Reschinsky after two days of collective bargaining in Frankfurt. "Those are little steps and not a big throw."

At the same time, negotiations between Verdi and the aviation security companies remained unsuccessful. The UFO union declared the collective bargaining for cabin workers to have failed.

Collective bargaining dispute among ground staff

So far, Verdi has led two warning strikes lasting more than a day during the conflict, during which several hundred flights were canceled each time. As after the previous rounds of negotiations, the new offer will now be evaluated together with the workforce and discussed further steps, said the Verdi negotiator. This could take a few days. “We are ready for further strikes if you are,” it said in a circular to members.

After the latest wave of warning strikes by ground staff, Lufthansa has submitted a new offer. “We have once again taken a big step towards Verdi and presented a new, even improved offer,” said Human Resources Director Michael Niggemann, according to a statement. In detail, the first of two planned table increases of 4 percent would be brought forward from December 2024 to March of this year. In addition, the inflation compensation bonus of 3,000 euros should now be paid out more quickly.

Verdi: “Not even half of our demands have been met”

Verdi representative Reschinsky was also disappointed with the absolute level of the proposed wage increases. If the term is more than twice as long, the amount of the original claim will not even be reached. "This means that the offer does not even meet half of our demand."

With a term increased by 3 to 28 months, according to the Lufthansa offer there should be 10 percent higher salaries. Verdi had demanded 12.5 percent more money and the inflation compensation bonus over a twelve-month period for the more than 20,000 employees.

New round of collective bargaining negotiations with aviation security companies

There are also no signs of agreement in the parallel talks between Verdi and the aviation security companies in Berlin. Verdi negotiator Wolfgang Pieper rejected the employers' improved offer for around 25,000 employees as "inadequate".

According to the proposal by the Federal Association of Aviation Security Companies (BDLS), the hourly wage should increase by 2.70 euros in three steps by April 1, 2025. "After two years, that's less than we asked for for one year. That's not enough," said Pieper. Verdi had asked for 2.80 euros for a term of twelve months. We will now discuss how to proceed internally. The next round of negotiations is scheduled for March 20th in Berlin.

Further risk of strike: UFO union starts strike vote

In addition, Lufthansa passengers have to prepare for new strikes in another collective bargaining dispute at the airline. The UFO union declared collective bargaining for around 18,000 cabin workers to have failed. She called on her members to decide on strikes in a strike vote starting next week by March 6th. The Independent Flight Attendants Organization (Ufo) in Frankfurt announced that Lufthansa did not present a sufficient offer in another top-level meeting.

"We don't like to go down the path of escalation, but we have no alternative as long as Lufthansa doesn't respond to our legitimate demands," said UFO chairman Joachim Vázquez Bürger. The cabin has demands that are more than justified. During the crisis, employees made major concessions to secure jobs. Bürger said he expects a high turnout in the ballot.

The union had already unilaterally broken off salary negotiations for the parent company's flight attendants at the end of January and appeared ready to fight. She terminated the collective wage agreement for the Lufthansa cabin at the end of 2023.

Lufthansa is replacing almost the entire board of directors

At Deutsche Lufthansa, almost the entire management team is also being replaced. Four of the six board members are leaving the group almost at the same time, and the supervisory board is also eliminating one board position entirely. Only the chairman of the board, Carsten Spohr, and the previous head of human resources, Michael Niggemann, remain.

As the company surprisingly announced, the supervisory board of Deutsche Lufthansa AG has decided on a "far-reaching restructuring of the board of directors". From July 1st, the Lufthansa management board will only have five members instead of the previous six.