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German Union Slams airberlin Over Decision to Delay Takeover: Accuses Airline of Putting Loyal Employees Jobs at Risk

German Union Slams airberlin Over Decision to Delay Takeover: Accuses Airline of Putting Loyal Employees Jobs at Risk

German Union Slams airberlin Over Decision to Delay Takeover Process: Accuses Airline of Putting Loyal Employees Jobs at Risk

The German workers union, ver.di has slammed airberlin for its decision to postpone the takeover process of the bankrupt airline until after the upcoming German election.  Ver.di or Vereinte Dienstleistungsgewerkschaft (United Services Trade Union) to give the union its full name called the administrator’s decision “irresponsible” and said it had been made at the “expense of the employees.”

In a statement translated from German, the union’s President, Christine Behle said she had no understanding for the delay but it would cause “great concern” for the jobs of the 8,000 employees at airberlin.

According to Reuters, the bidding process for airberlin closes at 2 pm, German time today.  But a final decision on the fate of the airline has now been delayed by four days to 25th September – that now falls one day after the German national election.

Speculation about which airline’s and investors are interested in taking over airberlin has been intense.  Ryanair has accused Lufthansa of a “stitch up” – believing a deal for Germany’s largest airline to cherry pick airberlin’s assets had already been made.  Ryanair has called on the European Commission to formally investigate the matter.

Sourcesources cited by Reuters said Lufthansa plans to take on 90 airberlin aircraft as well as 38 wet leased aircraft which will include cabin crew.  Eurowings, a subsidiary of Lufthansa is also actively recruiting experienced cabin crew and this is seen as a way to employ airberlin flight attendants on new contracts.

Behle has demanded that potential bidders take on not only airberlin’s aircraft and lucrative airport slots but also its employees.

One article suggests airberlin cabin crew could see their wages fall by up to 40%.

“More than 8,000 employees are worried about their jobs and are concerned about their future with their families.  Therefore, it is important to find a long-term and stable solution for the employees, regardless of buyer interests or political demands.”

Responding to calls that potential bidders were looking to re-employ existing staff on new contracts, Behl had this to say: “We are giving a clear cancellation to this raisin picking and are calling for the contractual acceptance of staff on good terms.”

She continued: “It is irresponsible to pay the workers for management errors. They had supported the company for decades through their work.”

airberlin was given a bridging loan of €150 million by the German government after major shareholder, Etihad Airways withdrew funding from the beleaguered carrier and forced it into administration.  In recent days, up to 200 airberlin pilots went on a ‘sick-in’ leading to the cancellation of hundreds of flights.

The airline’s senior executives accused the pilots of putting airberlin’s very existence at risk and said that if the action continued, airberlin would be forced to stop its operations indefinitely.