Lufthansa, trade union reach agreement on mediation

Lufthansa, trade union reach agreement on mediation
# 08 September 2012 03:14 (UTC +04:00)
Baku-APA. The German trade union representing flight attendants said on Friday that it had reached a preliminary agreement with Lufthansa as a nationwide strike has forced over 1,000 flights cancelled, APA reports quoting Xinhua.

The chief of the trade union named Independent Flight Attendant Organization (UFO in German) told reporters that it had ended a run of strikes and there will be no strikes until they agree to or reject an arbiter’s ruling next week.

In response to a call for a nationwide strike by Independent Flight Attendant Organization, flight attendants of Lufthansa Airline took part in strikes at airports across the country.

About 1,000 people got involved in a demonstration at the Frankfurt airport on Friday, a Lufthansa cabin crew member who is also a member of the UFO union told Xinhua. He has been working for Lufthansa for 12 years and the strike on Friday was a success from the UFO’s point of view.

He said the strike is the first real one that has been organized by the UFO, which was founded in 1992. After spending 13 months negotiating with Lufthansa Airline without an agreement, the trade union was left with no other choices, he said.

People wearing bright green vests gathered in front of the Lufthansa base near the Terminal 1 of Frankfurt airport. A Lufthansa stewardess said on condition of anonymity that the strike was not all for money.

Outsourcing flight attendant jobs and the use of temporary workers will inevitably lead to changes of the contracts of flight attendants, she said, stressing that it was unfair.

After two warning strikes at the Frankfurt Airport, Berlin Tegel Airport and Munich airport, the trade union called the nationwide strikes two days ago. According to the arrangements of the union, demonstrations were held in airports in Frankfurt, Munich, Berlin, Hamburg and Dusseldorf on Friday.

The flight attendants had demanded a 5 percent pay raise but the loss-suffering Lufthansa was only willing to offer a 3.5 percent increase.

Lufthansa on Friday said it had conceded to offer permanent contracts to offer permanent contracts to some temporary cabin crew.

Klaus Walther, Senior Vice President and Head of Lufthansa Group Communications, said more than 100,000 passengers had been affected by the strikes and Lufthansa had been forced to cancel more than 1,000 flights.

"We do hope to recover our operations tomorrow. With tomorrow’s flight schedule, we have prepared to reinstall the flights on time and we do hope to do this without any hiccups," he told Xinhua.

Lufthansa welcomed the decision of the union to stop strikes because it meant more reliability for Lufthansa customers, he said.

Lufthansa chairman and CEO Christoph Franz said that Lufthansa was going to resign from deploying external cabin crews in Berlin for a foreseeable time frame without preconditions.

"We hope that this step will help the trade union UFO, within the scope of constructive talks together with us, to tread a path leading to a sustainable and competitive wage structure for our cabin staff," he said.