Pilots at German flag carrier Lufthansa have voted overwhelmingly in favour of strike action in a dispute with the airline over pay and conditions improvements, especially in light of rising inflation that has resulted in ‘real wage loss’.
On a high turnout of more than 93 per cent, nearly 98 per cent of pilots at Lufthansa’s passenger airline voted in favour of strike action. That vote was even higher amongst pilots working at Lufthansa’s cargo operation with 99 per cent voting to support a walkout.
The strike vote threatens to heap even more misery on Lufthansa passengers who have already been hit by months of post-pandemic travel disruption, as well as a one-day strike by ground workers that forced Lufthansa to cancel more than 1,000 flights last Wednesday.
“We now need a modern and fair internationally competitive remuneration structure in all occupational groups,” commented Dr. Marcel Gröls, chairman of tariff negotiations at Vereinigung Cockpit which represents Lufthansa pilots.
Dr Gröls noted that the strike vote doesn’t necessarily mean that a walkout will occur but that it sent an “unmistakable signal to Lufthansa to take the needs of cockpit staff seriously.”
“Even in the interest of our passengers, a serious will to be found on the part of Lufthansa is now needed in order to jointly create creative solution spaces in the interest of the company and its employees,” Dr Gröls continued.
Last week’s one-day walkout was called by the Ver.di union which represents a wide range of ground staff, including engineers and baggage handlers. The ‘warning strike’ was just a prelude to what might happen if negotiations scheduled for August stumble.
Pilots at the airline last staged a 48-hour walkout in November 2016 which resulted in 1,700 flight cancellations. The walkout was the 14th such strike by pilots at the German carrier since 2014.
In the latest dispute, the pilot union is calling for an immediate 5.5 per cent pay rise, plus automatic rises to keep up with inflation thereafter.
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.