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).