Earlier today, Lufthansa Pilots ratified a proposal that will put to end a long running labor dispute between Vereinigung Cockpit (VC) and the Airline.
The new deal, approved by 80% of LH’s pilots, is in place through June 2022 and addresses most issues that led to the myriad of strikes that affected passengers over the last couple of years. Most of the discord between pilots and Lufthansa had been pension plans for pilots before they reach full retirement age and job security for existing pilots.
Lufthansa, Lufthansa Cargo, and Eurowing pilots will receive a 10.2 percent raise in increments between now and June 2022 as well as an immediate bonus of 1.8 months worth of salary.
The deal also includes guarantees that Lufthansa will operate a minimum of aircraft between now and the deal’s expiration in 2022, along with an agreement for collective bargaining for future negotiations. Specifically, 325 aircraft need to be in service that are piloted by LH, LH Cargo, or Germanwings pilots.
For pilots, they also agreed to migrate their retirement plan from a defined benefit program to a defined contribution program, which reduces the stress on Lufthansa as far as funding retirement plans is concerned.
So it looks like we can fly the crane for the next 4.5 years without worrying about any flights being cancelled due to strike actions by the pilots.
Lufthansa has announced that it has reach an agreement with Vereinigung Cockpit (VC) that will finally put pilots under contract with a new labor deal. This announcement comes on the heels of negotiations that had taken place between LH, VC and an outside mediator in February 2017.
This finally puts to rest a labor squabble that has lasted since 2014 and has cost Lufthansa €500 million and forced passengers to endure 14 strikes.
Though minor details are yet to be worked out, the sides agreed to the following key points:
- Lufthansa will NOT outsource jobs to pilots who are not covered under the new agreement. Previously, LH suggested that up to 40 aircraft could be manned by cockpit crew that would be exempt from any labor agreement.
- Pilots will receive a pay increase of 11.2% retroactive to 2012 and prorated through 2022. They will also get a one time bonus of 1.8x their monthly salary.
- Lufthansa has promised to maintain a minimum fleet size of 325 aircraft, thus ensuring opportunities for hiring new pilots to enter Lufthansa’s Pilot Training Program, as well as creating opportunities for advancement of current pilots to move on to flying larger aircraft as their careers develop. The target of 325 aircraft needs to be reached or maintained by 2022.
- Lufthansa will be able to recharacterize the pension liabilities currently on it’s balance sheet. This accounting maneuver will result in an improved balance sheet to the tune of 100s of millions of Euros and be accretive to Lufthansa’s balance sheet for 2017. Pilots have agreed to convert their pension to a Defined Benefit Plan.
Once the deal is voted on and approved by pilots, it will be in force until May 2022.
The strike by Berlin’s Ground Crew has now been extended through Tuesday, March 14 until 5pm local time.
Lufthansa, SWISS and Austrian have now cancelled all flights that serve Berlin through the end of the strike. The strike was scheduled to end at 5:00a on Tuesday March 14, but apparently the union thought it was a good idea to extend the misery for passengers for another day.
Please be aware that there may be residual cancellations that leak into March 15 due to the positioning of aircraft.
Lufthansa has announced that it has cancelled all flights to between from Munich or Frankfurt to Berlin for Monday, March 13, 2017. This as a result of a strike announcement by Ver.di who represents Ground Workers at both Berlin airports (Tegel and Schonefeld).
The strike scheduled for tomorrow comes on the heels of a walkout last Friday, and also comes conveniently during the ITB travel show taking place in Berlin at the same time. Plans call for upwards of 2000 workers to walk off the job at 4:00a Monday through 5:00a Tuesday, making for a 25 hour strike.
If your plans included transiting Berlin tomorrow please use this link to see what your options may be. Typically you can rebook to travel on a different day for no charge, get a refund, or switch to a Deutsche Bahn train ticket to get you to your destination.
While knocking on wood, there is hope that labor peace will exist between Lufthansa and Vereinigung Cockpit (VC) through the Holidays.
In comments coming out of Frankfurt, it appears that both sides have agreed to a new series of mediation in an attempt to finally bridge the gap between the union and the airline. So I’m cautiously optimistic that the union will not pull any stunts that seek to hurt passengers during one of the busiest travel season of the year.
Obviously past mediations have yielded nothing but more strikes and passenger grief but there’s always hope of reaching a deal. Just like there’s hope of winning the lottery.
The labor dispute will enter it’s fifth year in 2017. Pilots have been working without a new deal since 2012 and I suspect that trend to continue for the foreseeable future.