Lufthansa Group is planning to cut up to 22,000 job due to the current pandemic, and that involves lots of negotiations with unions. If reports are to be believed, it looks like at least one union boss may be more concerned with lining his own pockets than taking care of members.
Lufthansa union boss wants personal payment
Germany’s Welt reports that the head of Lufthansa’s flight attendant union, Nicoley Baublies, has made the current negotiations rather personal. The head of the UFO union (Unabhängige Flugbegleiter Organisation) will allegedly only agree to a rescue package if the airline pays him.
Specifically, he wants €1 million personally. The reason? For “legal costs” and “intangible losses.” Baublies himself has said that he “could neither confirm nor deny sums that were discussed in the quality procedure,” as they have “agreed not to disclose the content of the quality procedure until a solution has been reached.”
Meanwhile a representative for the airline has said that “there has never been anything like this in collective bargaining in the past decades,” and that “Mr. Baublies mixes personal issues with the legitimate interests of the union.”
The controversy surrounding Lufthansa’s union
Some may recall that in late 2019 there were a string of quasi-strikes among Lufthansa flight attendants. The company refused to recognize the strikes, though, and they ended up not having much of an impact on operations.
The reason? At the time, Lufthansa didn’t recognize the UFO’s right to bargain. The controversy with UFO comes from the fact that there were reports of corruption at the union, and there was quite a bit of internal fighting.
The union argued that Lufthansa had been using UFO’s internal issues to its advantage by trying not to recognize the union. While Lufthansa tried at the time to argue that the union didn’t have the right to strike, a court decided otherwise.
I can’t imagine this current situation restores much faith in the union either…
It’s being reported that the head of Lufthansa’s flight attendant union is demanding a personal payment of €1 million in exchange for agreeing to job cuts. I’m curious to see what more comes of this.
On the one hand, the UFO doesn’t exactly have the cleanest record as far as unions go (both internally and externally). On the other hand, this is low even by those standards, and one can’t help but wonder if this is almost a further effort to divide the union.
Lufthansa has used the weakness of the UFO to its advantage, and could this be another one of those situations?
(Tip of the hat to Paddle Your Own Kanoo)