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Flight Attendants at Lufthansa Say Their Mental Health is Facing “Extreme Difficulties” And They Are Blaming The Airline

Flight Attendants at Lufthansa Say Their Mental Health is Facing “Extreme Difficulties” And They Are Blaming The Airline

Lufthansa Flight Attendants Could Be About to Announce More Strike Dates as Peace Talks Falter

Flight attendants at German flag carrier Lufthansa say the disruption and operational meltdowns gripping Europe’s aviation industry have resulted in them suffering “extreme difficulties” with their mental health.

Last week, staff representatives demanded Lufthansa reverse its “cost-cutting craziness” and blamed many of the airline’s current woes, including chronic staff shortages, on mismanagement at the highest levels.

On Thursday, Lufthansa confirmed it was cancelling an additional 900 flights short-haul flights from its Frankfurt and Munich hubs in July alone because of the ongoing staffing crisis.

Last month, chief executive Carsten Spohr apologised to staff in an internal memo, admitting the airline had gone “too far” with its cost-cutting. Spohr did, however, frame Lufthansa’s mistakes against the pressure it felt to stem massive losses during the height of the pandemic.

But flight attendants represented by the UFO union say the impact of that cost-cutting is now having a real impact on the mental health of its members.

The list of complaints is long and the relentless pressure is starting to take its toll. One major concern is that delayed and disrupted passengers are increasingly taking out their frustrations on front line staff, sometimes including physical attacks.

Lufthansa chairman Karl-Ludwig Kley says he is aware of reports of passenger aggression and that staffers are feeling “despair and tears” because of the pressure they are being put under.

“I have not seen such an accumulation of problems in my career,” Kley told employees in a recent internal memo.

But flight attendants say many of the airline’s policies address these problems are also having an impact on their mental health. The staffing crisis means Lufthansa is operating flights with less crew, and managers are asking flight attendants to take on additional responsibilities without training.

Rosters consist mainly of standby days which can cause additional stress and anxiety because flight attendants have little control over their work/life balance. Lufthansa, like many airlines, is using standby duties much more than before the pandemic because schedules are changing so rapidly and at short notice.

“We say it clearly – The demands on our mental health are significantly increased by the summer op(erations),” the flight attendant union, which also represents crew at Eurowings and Condor, said last week.

The problems are far from unique to Lufthansa. Flight attendants at Air France recently slammed their employer for increasingly difficult working conditions, while pressures are starting to mount at more and more airlines.

The sudden upturn in passenger demand, coupled with a perception of poor pay and working conditions has created a wave of industrial unrest across the European aviation sector.

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