An End Is Finally In Sight For The Lufthansa Pilot Strike!

Filed Under: Lufthansa, Unions

Today Lufthansa’s pilots are striking for the sixth day since last week, which has led to about 4,500 flights being canceled, and over 500,000 passengers being inconvenienced. Up until now there has been no end in sight for the strike, as the pilots have been unwilling to sit down with management until they come back with a better starting offer.

Lufthansa pilots wanted a retroactive pay raise dating back to 2012. While management was willing to negotiate, they weren’t willing to meet the conditions that the pilots wanted in order to even begin negotiations.

So I’ve been wondering which side would give in:

  • Surely the pilots won’t strike for six days and then just give up, after having accomplished nothing
  • If management was realistically willing to go much higher, you’d think they would have done so after day one or two of the strike, rather than six days in


Well, we now have our answer. Lufthansa’s management team has improved their opening offer for pilots, which will hopefully lead to negotiations. Per Lufthansa’s press release:

Deutsche Lufthansa AG has made the Vereinigung Cockpit pilots’ union (VC) a new offer to resolve the present industrial dispute. The company is now offering a two-step 4.4% increase in remuneration plus a one-off payment. Remuneration would be increased by 2.4% for 2016 and by a further 2.0% for 2017. This latest offer is not linked to any other terms or conditions. Lufthansa is thus meeting a key VC demand. The union has also repeatedly told the media that it would be willing to enter mediation on the basis of an offer of this kind.

“We want to urgently avoid any further damage to our company and finally return to offering our passengers the kind of service they can expect from us,” said Harry Hohmeister, Chief Officer Hub Management of Deutsche Lufthansa AG, at a union information event. “And that’s why we submitted a new offer to the VC yesterday evening.”

Lufthansa is immediately available to begin preparations for mediation on the Collective Labor Agreement on Remuneration, together with the VC, on the basis of this offer. “We want to get back to the negotiating table as quickly as possible,” stressed Bettina Volkens, Chief Officer Corporate Human Resources & Legal Affairs of Deutsche Lufthansa AG. “As desired by the VC, we can then successively negotiate on all the currently-open collective labor agreement issues. And this in turn should lead us back to long-term industrial peace and a sound social partnership.”

That’s great news. My guess is that we won’t see another strike for a bit, as hopefully these negotiations go somewhere. So while flights today will continue to be impacted, after that hopefully things will slowly get back to normal (obviously flights over the coming days may still be impacted, as planes have to be repositioned).

  1. Good to see them coming back to the negotiating table. I was rebooked on SAS due to the strike and what a luck that was. Sitting in C from CPH to SFO enjoying a great seat, decent food and free WiFi that actually works. LH have just lost my business flying transatlantic.

  2. SAS is overwhelmed by this. The customers who got rebooked will enjoy 1-2-1 seating on new/refurbished aircrafts.

    Lufthansa keep up the terrible job…

  3. @mucsea2003

    Out of curiosity, you found SAS better in biz.?

    Would you switch from a LH nonstop in biz. on a long haul to SAS one-stop in biz. on a long haul? I’m just curious. I’ve flown LH many, many, many, many, many times in long haul, but always/only in first (and yes, I count my blessings, seriously), and I’ve only experience their “business” class on short-halls within Europe, and I’ve never flown SAS, so I’m curious.

  4. Because making an average of 180.000 Euros a year is borderline poverty for so few hours worked, they need a much higher raise.

    Seriously, fire them all and hire people who actually want to work.

  5. @TravelinWilly Business class with SAS is horrible. The service is the worst business product I can recall, the stewardesses don’t even greet you when you board, they just pass with the initial drinks and then bring you a wet towel. The only thing they tell you and I found that really strange, is shortly before you take off (CPH-SFO flight) they ask if you want them to wake you up before breakfast. Mind you that the plane just took off and there are over 10h of flight to do, but they’re asking you about breakfast.

    Service was extremely slow and the food served was average. The only good thing about it was the seat, it has a little more privacy that LH business. But the service was atrocious, I’ll never fly with SAS again.

  6. This happened already this time around (LH offer) and the strike continues. Union has not accepted this yet so why so optimistic as to warrant another post on this? Over the past weekend they were even negotiating…

  7. The French baggage handlers are assholes. My in-laws from France came to visit. They turned in their baggage at CDG, and boarded a few hours later. When they arrived in the US, nobody’s baggage showed up. Evidently the official strike happened just before they boarded. Air France never said a word. Nothing showed up the entire two and a half weeks they were here. Had to buy everything. My Father in law’s prescriptions didn’t show up either. Fortunately my best friend is a physician, knew a doctor that could speak fluent french, was kind enough to call to find out exactly what it was he needed, and wrote him a prescription. Had to purchase that too, and it wasn’t cheap. (learned his lesson never to put that stuff in checked baggage)

    These unions and airlines don’t give a shit.

  8. I’m not sure sure this will lead to peace between LH and VC – it’s just as likely to embolden VC to hold to their demands in the actual negotiations.

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