It’s been a really trying time for the 8,000 staff who used to work for the now-defunct German airline, Air Berlin. When the carrier went into administration earlier this year the future looked really uncertain for Air Berlin’s cabin crew and pilots. Luckily, a bridging loan from the German government allowed the airline to continue flying (and paying its staffs wages) while buyers were sought for Air Berlin’s assets.
Lufthansa has been the biggest buyer, snapping up the airline’s Austrian Niki brand and a considerable number of Air Berlin’s old aircraft and serving cabin crew. The German flag carrier’s low-cost subsidiary, Eurowings has also started a massive recruitment drive to hire Air Berlin cabin crew.
And last week we learnt, British low-cost airline, easyJet had agreed a €40 million deal to buy Air Berlin’s assets at its home airport. The agreement included a commitment to take on 25 of Air Berlin’s old aircraft and easyJet also announced plans to recruit 1,000 new cabin crew for its expanded operation in Berlin.
Now, we’ve learnt that easyJet has come to an agreement with the Verdi workers union who represent Air Berlin cabin crew and many of the airline’s existing German staff. In a statement, the union said the deal being offered by easyJet would make job opportunities for Air Berlin cabin crew “very attractive.”
easyJet is now in the process of screening former Air Berlin employees and those who meet the low-cost carrier’s standards will join easyJet in the “coming months.” They’ll be hired on local German employment contracts (just like other easyJet staff in the country) but will maintain the existing collective bargaining agreements that Verdi had negotiated with Air Berlin.
The union also said the transferred cabin crew would be employed by easyJet at the same rank that they left Air Berlin. Accelerated promotion opportunities will be available for some cabin crew and the overall salary is said to be “comparable.”
“Like all our employees, each new employee is recruited on the basis of local, German employment contracts and collective bargaining agreements negotiated with ver.di,” explained Stuart MacDonald, head of Industrial Relations at easyJet.
“We are very much looking forward to welcoming the former Air Berliners to easyJet. Their work experience represents a significant added value for easyJet.”
But here’s the really interesting bit – because the Air Berlin cabin crew will need to be trained in easyJet’s safety and security procedures there may be a delay in some staff joining the airline. That’s simply because easyJet has limited resources to train staff at any given time.
However, easyJet has said that any cabin crew who are offered a job will be paid in full during the waiting period – even though they can’t do any work.
“Given the circumstances, we are pleased that easyJet agreed to negotiate and bind us to fair hiring and grouping conditions for hiring former Air Berlin pilots and cabin crew arrange,” commented Holger Roessler, Verdi’s chief negotiator.
Mateusz Maszczynski honed his skills as an international flight attendant at the most prominent airline in the Middle East and has been flying throughout the COVID-19 pandemic for a well-known European airline. Matt is passionate about the aviation industry and has become an expert in passenger experience and human-centric stories. Always keeping an ear close to the ground, Matt's industry insights, analysis and news coverage is frequently relied upon by some of the biggest names in journalism.