- Germanwings cabin crew to stage 3-day strike starting on 30th December
- The UFO union says “every effort” to resolve dispute has been made but failed
- Eurowings describes the strike as “unfounded and incomprehensible”
- Union doesn’t rule out extending strike to Lufthansa at short notice.
Announcing a New Year’s Eve strike at the Lufthansa subsidiary Germanwings (part of the low-cost Eurowings brand), the deputy chief of the UFO flight attendants union said “every effort” had been made to resolve a deepening dispute between it and the German airline group. “Unfortunately, this did not succeed,” Daniel Flohr told members in a video message posted to the union’s website on Friday evening.
With arbitration talks between the Independent Flight Attendants Association (UFO) and Lufthansa’s negotiators seemingly reaching an impasse, Flohr announced that the airline had been informed flight attendants would now stage a walkout. The strike, for now at least, will only involve Germanwings flight attendants who intend to down tools between midnight on Monday 30th December until midnight on 1st January 2020.
Of the 140 aircraft in the Eurowings fleet, only 30 are operated by Germanwings.
The union, however, has not ruled out calling its members at other Lufthansa group airlines in Germany to join the strike. The situation is said to be most delicate at Lufthansa mainline brand where flight attendants have already staged a 48-hour strike in November which led to the cancellation of more than 1,300 flights.
Flohr said no further strike would not be announced until at least 2nd January unless more “oil is poured into the fire”.
“Further false reports, unfounded lawsuits, injunctions and the like would only exacerbate this conflict,” Flohr cautioned, signalling that a mass walkout could be called at very short notice.
Lufthansa and cabin crew representatives have been locked in arbitration talks with independent mediators since the damaging November strike in an attempt to reach a deal over collective bargaining and a whole slew of other outstanding issues. The initial peace deal is said to have been negotiated by Lufthansa’s former head of human resources Bettina Volkens.
Dr Volkens was ousted by the Lufthansa executive board at the start of December. She will leave the company completely on New Year’s Eve.
Saying it “regretted” the call to strike, a spokesperson for Eurowings said the walkout was “unfounded and incomprehensible to us.” A special timetable is currently being drawn up and is expected to be published on Saturday afternoon.
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.