- Germanwings to start a three-day strike on 30th December
- Union rejects peace offer from the airline and calls it a “ruse”
- Germanwings claims reasons for the walkout is a first in German history
- Further strikes could be called at short notice
The managing director of low-cost German airline Eurowings claims a cabin crew union has called a three-day strike which will take place over New Year’s Eve because just 11 flight attendants had their requests for part-time contracts rejected. Francesco Sciortino said in a statement released on Sunday morning that the reason for the walkout was a first in German history and claimed the strike risked sacrificing the many successes cabin crew had achieved throughout the year.
On Saturday, the airline had attempted to calm tensions with an immediate offer to implement the same part-time contracts that are enjoyed by flight attendants at Lufthansa. Sciortino also suggested arbitration between the airline and the UFO union that has called the strikes to address a number of other underlying issues.
But the UFO was quick to reject the peace offer, describing the deal as a “ruse” and claiming the airline was “playing games” with flight attendants. As of now, the three-day strike is set to go ahead, beginning at midnight on 30th December – the walkout will only affect the Germanwings operation (which operates around 30 planes on behalf of Eurowings), although the union hasn’t ruled out extending the strike.
In a statement, Eurowings said the union was “ruthlessly” playing power politics, describing them as “misguided and disproportionate,” as well as a “pre-text” for something else.
The airline says a part-time contract was jointly developed with the union and so far around 800 flight attendants have had their requests to move to a part-time contract approved. Just 11 requests were rejected for operational reasons according to Sciortino.
The UFO represents flight attendants at Eurowings and Germanwings as well as Lufthansa, Lufthansa CityLine, and SunExpress. A bitter dispute has already resulted in several walkouts, including a 48-hour strike at the mainline Lufthansa brand. The union has threatened further stoppages after independent mediation talks failed to find a solution to the current impasse.