Lufthansa and the Vereinigung Cockpit pilots union announced on Wednesday that they had reached a short-term deal that will see the German flag carrier put off any redundancies until March 2021. The airline previously warned that as many as 600 pilots could face the axe and today said a “significant overcapacity” of pilots is expected well into 2021 and beyond.
The deal, which lasts through to the end of December 2020, however, buys both sides more time to continue negotiations on a longer-term solution as the entire aviation industry navigates its way through the Corona crisis.
Pilots have agreed to delay a collective pay rise until January 2021, while Lufthansa will cut the amount it has been topping up short-term working allowances paid for by the German government. Lufthansa will also temporarily reduce pension contributions from September onwards.
“We clearly reject Lufthansa’s threat to announce redundancies for operational reasons,” commented Markus Wahl, president of the pilots union. “In our opinion, a social partnership must show how resilient it is, especially in bad times,” he continued.
“The pilots are ready to make a noticeable contribution to keep the entire cockpit staff on board. Maintaining jobs continues to have top priority.”
The union had previously suggested temporarily cutting pilot wages by as much as 45 per cent in return for a guarantee from Lufthansa that no pilots would lose their jobs. Lufthansa rejected that proposal.
A spokesperson for the airline, however, suggested today that a long term solution to avoid job losses would be a reduction in working hours and pay for the duration of the crisis. Talks will continue over the coming months.
Last week, Lufthansa and the main flight attendants union reached a longterm deal to significantly reduce the number of redundancies amongst cabin crew. Talks with the union that represents 35,000 ground staff, though, have been less successful. The Verdi union has criticised Lufthansa for taking a €9 billion government bailout while still demanding further concessions from low paid staff.
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.