Lufthansa faces more unrest after pilots back potential strikes

Deutsche Lufthansa AG could face further disruption after its pilots voted for strikes if deemed essential to press for a pay deal, a move that would trigger another wave of cancellations until negotiators and the representatives of the airline’s unions can resolve their problem. variants.

The VC pilots’ union voted overwhelmingly in favor of the walkouts on Sunday, meaning Lufthansa could be hit with stoppages as early as next month. The strikes would lead to further cancellations on top of the 7,000 flights the company canceled this summer due to staff shortages.

“This optimistic poll does not lead but essentially to a strike movement,” the union said in an emailed statement. “However, it is an unmistakable sign for Lufthansa to take the needs of cockpit employees seriously.”

Pilot strikes at Europe’s biggest airline would add to a summer season of chaos across the continent, where airports and airways have struggled to cope with a surge in bookings in contrast to the coronavirus-induced slowdown. pandemic.

After initially avoiding walkouts that have plagued rivals like Ryanair Holdings Plc, Lufthansa’s administration is facing the motion from its various unions. The service last week canceled about 1,000 flights at its Frankfurt and Munich hubs due to an industrial movement of floor workers.

“We would like a contemporary and truthful, internationally aggressive compensation construct,” Marcel Groels, the VC’s chief negotiator, said by email on Sunday. “In the curiosity of our passengers as well, Lufthansa should exhibit a critical willingness to research options.”

Soaring German inflation is pushing staff across the financial system to demand higher wages, raising the specter of strikes in several sectors. Lufthansa pilots are demanding a pay rise to help offset the double-digit rise in purchasing costs.

After surviving a pandemic that pushed the service to the brink of insolvency, Lufthansa is facing an outpouring of anger from workers who say they have borne the brunt of drastic price cuts which they say endanger Lufthansa’s brand image as a premium service.

Chief executive Carsten Spohr pledged to increase the airline’s profit margin to a minimum of 8% by 2024, a move he said was aimed at reducing debt. Disputes with employee representatives suggest Spohr may struggle to meet those targets as it tries to stabilize the need for additional employees by pushing to cut prices.

Nonetheless, the airline said this month that it returned to profitability in the second quarter, benefiting from growing travel demand that prompted the industry to raise fares and restrict seat availability.

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