Over the lasting few weeks and months, I’ve written quite a bit about a possible industrial dispute that has been simmering away at Lufthansa and its low-cost brand Eurowings. It now looks like things are coming to a head and the possibility of strikes are very much a possibility.
In a new update to its members today, the Independent Flight Attendants Association (UFO) said they would begin a ballot on industrial action which could include strike action within the next couple of weeks. The ballot would last another two weeks and if enough cabin crew back strike action then they could walkout in time for the busy Summer holidays.
The catalyst for this latest development appears to be a complete breakdown in negotiations between Lufthansa and the UFO. Airline executives apparently told union representatives last Friday that all talks were being called to off.
It’s not entirely clear why Lufthansa has refused to continue negotiations but it is known that Lufthansa has questioned the legitimacy of the union because of an internal scandal that included allegations of corruption.
Lufthansa effectively said that the UFO’s internal issues were preventing staff from getting a new collective bargaining agreement that is due to expire at the end of June. For it’s part, the union has acknowledged its problems but says that airline-level representatives are ready and willing to negotiate.
At the centre of the dispute are a number of cost-cutting measures that the airline has implemented in the last couple of years. There’s also concern about career progression and a change in layover time on ultra-long-haul flights.
The issues at Eurowings are even more numerous and include issues such as implementation of a pension plan and part time working. The low-cost carrier, which hires crew on cheaper contracts, is being expanded by Lufthansa – much to the dismay of the UFO.
Lufthansa hasn’t yet commented on this latest development and it’s likely that the airline could turn to the courts to question the ballot result if it goes in favour of a strike.