Lufthansa and Verdi agree collective bargaining agreement on ground staff

Frankfurt Finally some good news for passengers. Lufthansa and the Verdi union have agreed on a wage increase for around 20,000 airline employees on the ground. Noticeable salary increases were agreed, which are disproportionately high for the lower salary brackets. Lufthansa announced this on Thursday.

There had been a hard struggle over the new collective agreement. Verdi had put a lot of pressure on the management with a massive warning strike last week. Because of the one-day labor dispute, Lufthansa had to cancel around 1,000 flights and thus almost the entire flight program that day. And that in the middle of the high season, which already demands a lot of patience from travelers due to disruptions to airport operations due to staff shortages in Europe.

The third round of negotiations, which was already scheduled for two days, also lasted a long time. The agreement was not reached until late Thursday evening. After two years of waiver due to the corona crisis, this provides for a wage increase of 200 euros per month from July 1, 2022. From January 1, 2023, wages will increase by 2.5 percent and from July 1, 2023 by another 2.5 percent.

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The new collective agreement, which still has to be approved by the committees and the Verdi members, provides for higher wage increases for lower salary brackets. In concrete terms, this means: If you have a monthly basic salary of 2,000 euros, your salary will increase by 19.2 percent over the entire term of 18 months. At 3,000 euros it is 13.6 percent and at 6,500 euros it is 8.3 percent. Verdi had called for an increase of 9.5 percent because of the high inflation.

Lufthansa is looking for 10,000 employees

After the pandemic, which has now lasted almost two and a half years, Lufthansa is facing a major challenge. Many employees have left the company, partly through volunteer programs, but partly on their own initiative because they no longer saw any opportunities in the industry.

The group now has too few employees for the planned growth. Management announced on Thursday morning that it would hire a total of 10,000 new employees this year and next. But the labor market is tight and Lufthansa has lost its appeal due to the massive economic consequences of the pandemic.

The great uncertainty during the pandemic has already pushed many Lufthansa employees to their breaking point. Added to this are the current problems in flight operations. All of this causes great frustration in the workforce. HR Director Michael Niggemann showed understanding for the difficult situation of the staff in an internal interview at Lufthansa this week. “The challenges for employees are enormous. They have two Corona crisis years behind them with great uncertainties and financial cuts.”

At the same time, however, management must keep an eye on the balance sheet. Lufthansa had to be rescued with government help. Although it has now been repaid, the company now has to reduce a large mountain of debt.

Tough negotiations between Verdi and Lufthansa

Lufthansa HR Director Michael Niggemann and Verdi negotiator Christine Behle (right) needed two days to clarify the many open issues.

(Photo: dpa)

There is a collective bargaining conflict not only with Verdi. Management is also in contact with the Vereinigung Cockpit (VC) pilots’ union and the UFO cabin union. Now it is taking revenge that Lufthansa management did not try to reach new agreements with the collective bargaining partners early on during the pandemic. Existing crisis collective agreements expired and collective bargaining conflicts arose in several places at the same time – in the middle of a period of very high inflation. After the compromise with Verdi on Thursday evening, HR director Niggemann emphasized the will to reach an agreement with VC and UFO. He is confident that good solutions can also be achieved here.

The example of Condor shows that there can be no labor disputes in aviation. There are currently no wage negotiations, as a spokeswoman for the holiday airline announced on request. But despite the collective bargaining agreements, there are good and advanced talks with the Verdi, VC and UFO unions for a seven to nine percent salary increase for all employees over the next two years.

“This salary increase is intended in particular to express the company’s appreciation of the commitment and commitment of the Condorians in this challenging summer and in the past few months.” The spokeswoman did not give any further details, referring to the ongoing negotiations.

More: Lufthansa suddenly makes a profit again and wants to hire 10,000 employees – flight program further restricted

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