- Arbitration talks between Lufthansa and cabin crew union fail
- Union spokesperson says strike action may now follow
- The union has ruled out any strikes on 24th, 25th or 26th December
- Further talks are scheduled to take place in January
The union that represents many of German flag-carrier Lufthansa’s 22,000 strong cabin crew workforce said on Sunday afternoon that arbitration talks had failed and that strike action could follow shortly. The Independent Flight Attendant Association (UFO), however, ruled out any walkouts on either the 24th, 25th or 26th December in order to spare passengers during the Christmas period.
Union officials indicated last week that strike action was a possibility after Lufthansa attached pre-conditions to arbitration talks that had been scheduled to take place over the weekend. The UFO refused to agree to these pre-conditions but said negotiators would still attend the talks in the hope there would be a breakthrough.
While both sides agreed not to discuss the contents of those talks, a spokesperson for the union said the meeting had been a failure.
“Even though we have agreed not to disclose the contents of these talks, unfortunately, we must state that there was no solution … so we failed,” Nicoley Baublies, the union’s spokesperson said in a video statement on Sunday evening.
“Industrial action must be expected again any time from now,” Baublies added. “The only thing we can disclose to our passengers is that we will leave out the Christmas holidays – specifically December 24, 25, 26.”
Baublies did not rule out calling members to down tools on Monday, although that risk looks less and less likely.
Both sides have agreed to meet again with independent mediators in January and in a separate statement, a spokesperson for Lufthansa said it “continues to expect that good solutions can be found for the 22,000 cabin crew members with regard to the arbitration issues”.
In November, Lufthansa cabin crew staged a 48-hour strike leading to the cancellation of 1,300 flights. More than 180,000 passengers were disrupted during the industrial action that forced Lufthansa to reopen talks with the UFO.