Cabin crew at German flag carrier Lufthansa have voted overwhelmingly in favour of a cost-cutting deal that will see wage increases axed and paid working hours slashed but crucially will save jobs. The cabin crew union UFO said on Saturday that the vote had received “by far the highest participation” in recent years with over 87 per cent of those who voted, agreeing to accept the plans.
The so-called ‘Crisis and security package’ will extract cost-savings from Lufthansa’s 22,000 strong cabin crew workforce to the sum of over half a billion Euros over the next four years. Some cabin crew will take pay cuts, while many will end up working shorter hours and Lufthansa will make smaller pension contributions.
The deal, however, will help Lufthansa avoid involuntary redundancies as it navigates through the Corona crisis. Earlier this month, the airline said it was no longer realistic to think that job losses could be avoided after it posted a €1.5 billion loss for the first half of the year.
On Thursday, Lufthansa called off talks with the Verdi United Services Union who represents 35,000 ground staff after talks on a separate cost-cutting deal stalled. Verdi criticised the airline for taking a €9 billion taxpayer-funded bailout from the German government and then asking for wage cuts from employees.
Christine Behle, vice-chairperson for the union said she would only accept some of Lufthansa’s demands if it made certain gaurantees on job losses. Lufthansa’s apparent refusal to continue talks after hitting a roadblock she said was a “slap in the face of the employees”.
The union has called on Lufthansa to avoid involuntary redundancies and instead offer an enhanced severance package to encourage workers to leave on their own terms.
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.