Flight cancellations: pilots' strike at Eurowings continues

In the labor dispute at the airline Eurowings, the pilots' union Cockpit has tightened its pace and is continuing its three-day strike.

Flight cancellations: pilots' strike at Eurowings continues

In the labor dispute at the airline Eurowings, the pilots' union Cockpit has tightened its pace and is continuing its three-day strike.

CFO Kai Duve vented his anger yesterday at Cologne/Bonn Airport and accused the union of having lost "measure and balance". With the latest offer, Eurowings has reached the limit of what is economically feasible. Every day of the strike costs the company tens of millions. That jeopardizes jobs.

In the collective bargaining dispute, Cockpit wants to significantly reduce the workload of pilots. The union demands 14 additional days off a year. Eurowings offers 10. Of the required five hours of work, which the union demands the pilots should work less per week, three hours were offered, said finance director Duve.

According to the company, it is about the maximum weekly working time that is only required in exceptional cases, for example during the summer holidays. It is currently 55 hours.

Eurowings CFO wants to continue negotiations

The union had already been accommodated considerably, said Duve. "I don't know why that shouldn't be negotiable - I really don't have any understanding for that." He called on the union to return to the negotiating table. "We have to talk now, until then there will be no new offer."

Most flights, around 100, were canceled at Düsseldorf Airport on Monday. There were also numerous failures in Cologne/Bonn, Stuttgart, Hamburg and Berlin. According to the company, around 17,000 passengers were affected by the strike. The company is trying to use additional capacities, both with its own pilots and with pilots from partner companies. "We're seeing an increasing number of pilots contacting us and wanting to fly," said Duve.

At Cologne/Bonn Airport, the manager went demonstratively to a group of passengers whose travel planning had been affected by the strike. "I'm really sorry," said the Eurowings CFO. The waiting guests nodded or looked aside, rather embarrassed.

A lack of agreement could jeopardize Eurowings future

The Eurowings management received remote support from the parent company Lufthansa. Its boss Carsten Spohr told the German Press Agency that it would endanger the future of Eurowings if the management responded to Cockpit's demands. "The Lufthansa Group offers the best conditions for employees in Europe. We will continue to do so in the future, because we want to bring the best to us." In the end, "reason will prevail".

Cockpit had already organized a one-day strike on October 6th, even then the impact on flight operations was great. The call for a strike for the period from Monday to Wednesday included only applied to the German subsidiary of Eurowings, but not to Eurowings Europe, which is licensed in Austria, or to Eurowings Discover.

According to the union, it is very important that the workload of employees in the cockpit is reduced. The maximum flight duty times would have to be limited and rest periods extended. The union rejected management's most recent offer as insufficient and non-negotiable. The employer is doing "window dressing," said a union spokesman.

According to statements by Eurowings manager Duve and Lufthansa boss Spohr, the improvements demanded by the Cockpit Association are still not in sight. A Eurowings spokesman said yesterday that around half of Eurowings flights had to be canceled again. "We expect a similar picture as on Monday." The display boards at the major German airports will probably read very often until Wednesday: "cancelled" - deleted.

No understanding

A majority of Germans do not consider the pilots' strike at Eurowings to be justified. This is the result of a survey by the opinion research institute YouGov. According to this, 50 percent of those surveyed have no understanding for the three-day strike, which lasts until Wednesday. 36 percent understand, 14 percent did not specify, as YouGov announced. The institute interviewed 2,324 people in Germany aged 18 and over. With the industrial action, the Vereinigung Cockpit pilots' union wants to push through more days off and a lower maximum weekly working time.

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