The Independent Flight Attendants Organisation (UFO) is seeking a 5% pay rise spread over two years and a raft of other improvements to working conditions for cabin crew at Germany’s Lufthansa.
The demands, however, may well fall on deaf ears as Lufthansa management does not currently recognise the legitimacy of the UFO and could choose to ignore the union.
Lufthansa has been refusing to negotiate with union officials over allegations that the UFO was involved in fraud and nepotism. A number of high-ranking union officials have already stepped down in response to the accusations but Lufthansa has hinted that it would challenge the UFO in court if it attempted to organise flight attendants to take part in industrial action.
Along with a 5% pay rise over the next two years, the UFO has drawn up a list of other improvements it would like to see Lufthansa introduce. These include:
- Increasing ad diem allowances by as much as €10 per day
- A €2,000 bonus
- Ensuring that all staff are directly employed by Lufthansa
- Increasing other allowances such as language skills, etc.
In addition, the UFO would also like to see Lufthansa share out ‘there and back’ day trips more evenly amongst staff – while an essential part of the job, many cabin crew dislike ‘there and backs’ because the commute to work can oftentimes cost more than how much they will earn in allowances. The UFO is asking Lufthansa to pay a premium of €35 whenever three or more turnarounds are rostered in a single month.
There are also demands concerning job stability and career progression for pursers, as well as a demand to increase the layover period on ultra-long-haul flights to Asia. Lufthansa recently reduced the layover time to just one night in some countries such as South Korea in a bid to save money.
What happens next, however, is a little less clear than the UFO’s demands. The union says that despite Lufthansa’s refusal to enter into talks with its officials, it will nonetheless send over the proposal for consideration of airline bosses. If Lufthansa refuses to continue the union has not ruled out starting industrial action against the airline.
Union members have already taken part in a straw poll backing industrial action so it will be very interesting to see how this progresses over the next few weeks and months.
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.