Add more to the pile of woes at Eurowings……
Ver.di, the union that represents Eurowings’ ground crew and staff as well as airport personnel, is threatening to strike at short notice after recent labor negotiations fell apart. According to the union, 4 negotiation sessions with Lufthansa’s LCC management failed to yield any progress.
At the center of the labor issue is the union’s contention that employees have not seen a raise in 8 years. According to the union, the average Eurowings ground crew / staff employee earns only €131 more than Germany’s minimum wage requirement.
According to the union, it appears they are prepared to call a 4 hour strike with little to no notice between now and the next negotiation session which is slated for September 26. Nearly 500 employees can walk off the job at Eurowings bases in Hamburg and Dusseldorf should a strike be called.
The Union is seeking a 7 percent pay raise while Eurowings has countered with only a 1.3% raise for 2017 and 2018. So it doesn’t take a calculator to see that a major chasm exists between the 2 sides. The current contract expires on September 30 at which point things could really get ugly.
To add to a week that has been full of tragedy, today marked the one year anniversary of the crash of Germanwings flight 4U9525.
Marking perhaps the darkest day in Lufthansa’s history, 144 passengers and 6 crew members lost their lives when the A320 was intentionally crashed in the French Alps, near Le Vernet. The flight had been scheduled to fly between Barcelona and Dusseldorf. Unfortunately the co-pilot, Andreas Lubitz, took it upon himself to cast the fate of the passengers and his colleagues.
If there is any silver lining to this, it does appear that aviation authorities in Germany and the EU have undertaken steps to help prevent a tragedy like this from happening again. As part of the new rules that took effect almost immediately after the crash, it is now a requirement for the cockpit to always have 2 people in it. In addition, it appears as though rules relaxing strict privacy protection will be changed so that Doctors do not have to live in fear of committing a felony if they report their patient to an employer if they suspect that their patient can be a threat to themselves or to others.
I remember the day quite clearly since the crash took place while I was asleep in a hotel room next to Paine Field in Everett, Washington awaiting to board the delivery flight of Lufthansa’s Retro-Livery 747-8i, D-ABYT, or as she is commonly referred to, ‘Yankee Tango’. The delivery flight which was supposed to be a source of celebration for Lufthansa’s 60th Anniversary turned into a memorial to those who lost their lives. And because this was a unique aircraft due to its livery, it also served as a symbol of resilience and determination to move forward.
In their latest antic, the union representing LH’s flight crews has called for a complete shut down of all flights for 68 hours between November 11 and November 13 (Wednesday thru Friday).
As a result of this lunacy, LH is seeking injunctive relief from German Courts and is asking that this potential walk out be ruled illegal.
This latest strike threat would basically shut down all of Lufthansa’s operations in Munich, Dusseldorf and Frankfurt.
My gut tells me that the courts will side with Lufthansa and ban the union from this extreme action. It is unfortunate that German laws give far more power to the union than they do to the corporations that employ their membership. The playing field is far from level.
I’ll provide updates once there is any clarity to the strike actions planned for during the next 3 days.
You can also keep track on Lufthansa’s dedicated strike update page.