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Lufthansa, Union Reach Wage Deal for Ground Staff

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DALLAS – A week after a single-day strike that prompted Lufthansa (LH) to cancel more than 1,000 flights, the carrier and a union that represents German ground personnel came to a settlement on wages.

The agreement between LH and the Ver.di service workers’ union calls for one-time payments of €200 (US$203) per worker backdated to July 1. It covers about 20,000 employees in various ground operations.

Additionally, it calls for a 2.5% increase in monthly basic salary, or at least 125 euros per employee, starting on January 1 and another 2.5% increase starting on July 1 of the following year. The offer is good for a full 18 months.

MFZ4327-1024x683.jpgLufthansa has a significant long-haul offering at MUC and its entire Airbus A350 fleet is based at the hub. Photo: Munich Airport

Flight Cancelations amid One-day Strike

Lufthansa switched off last Wednesday, July 27, with nearly all its flights from Frankfurt (FRA) and Munich (MUC) canceled. That meant some 130,000 passengers or more were the casualties of the mass call-off due to previously repeated warning strikes by ground staff.

Of the entire lot, 678 flights were canceled from Frankfurt International (FRA), 32 of them being from the previous Tuesday, affecting 92,000 passengers. While for LH’s second hub, Munich (MUC), 345 flights were canceled – 42,000 passengers were affected. The airports in Düsseldorf (DUS), Hamburg (HAM), Berlin (BER), Bremen (BRE), Hanover (HAJ), Stuttgart (STR), and Cologne (CGN) were also affected.

AW_Julian-Scho%CC%88pfer-7-1024x683.jpgLufthansa D-AIUA Airbus A320 (Star Alliance livery) (perspective). Photo: Julian Schöpfer/Airways

Comments from Ver.di

According to Michael Niggemann, head of personnel at Lufthansa, they stretched the pay rise over multiple steps and secured longer-term security of planning with an 18-month period due to the still-high loads from the pandemic and the uncertain economy.

Christine Behle, the chief negotiator for Ver.di, said that the decision would even result in an effective rise of up to 18.4% for workers at check-in, noting that it would offset rising inflation as well as enhance real pay.

The union’s initial request for this year was a 9.5 percent salary raise. Its Wednesday last week strike added to the recent travel chaos in Europe. According to Lufthansa, the strike cost it about €35m.

With a union that represents pilots, LH is still working to resolve a different pay conflict. Pilots may have approved potential strike action, but the union representing them suggested walkouts might still be avoided.

Featured image: Fabrizio Spicuglia/Airways

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