Lufthansa CityLine Cabin Crew Demands Significant Pay Rise Amid German Union Protests
Amidst a wave of union protests across Germany, the Independent Flight Attendants Association (UFO) has made a bold demand for a 15% pay increase for Lufthansa CityLine's flight attendants. This move is part of a broader push by trade unions in Germany to secure better compensation for workers in various sectors, including transportation and aviation.
According to simpleflying, the call for a substantial pay rise, initiated last November, is driven by growing concerns over inflation and an increasing workload. On November 9, 2023, UFO requested not just the salary hike over 18 months, but also additional benefits for the approximately 19,000 flight attendants. These include a €3,000 compensation for inflation, a €500 educational grant, and other perks. UFO justifies these demands, citing Lufthansa's record revenues and the successful resurgence of air travel post-COVID-19.
During the challenging times of the COVID pandemic, UFO played a crucial role in safeguarding the jobs of 26,000 workers at Lufthansa, negotiating agreements that protected flight attendants from layoffs until December 2021. However, the current situation reflects a drastic shift, with unions like Verdi also demanding significant wage increases for employees in various Lufthansa departments.
The impact of such union actions on Germany's aviation sector cannot be understated. Past strikes, such as the one in 2019 led by UFO, resulted in massive disruptions, including the cancellation of 1,500 flights and affecting around 200,000 passengers. Similarly, a strike in July 2022 by Lufthansa ground staff led to the cancellation of nearly 1,000 flights, severely impacting operations at major airports like Frankfurt and Munich.
In response to these demands, Eurowings, a subsidiary of Lufthansa, has been negotiating wage increases to adjust pilot salaries in line with inflation. The cabin crew at Eurowings has already seen a significant increase in their monthly pay, along with a one-time inflation compensation.
The potential for industrial action by Lufthansa's flight attendants remains a looming possibility. Harry Jaeger, head of collective bargaining policy and UFO's chief negotiator, acknowledges the ongoing talks but indicates that an agreement is still far off. As the situation unfolds, it remains to be seen how Lufthansa and its subsidiaries will navigate these turbulent times, balancing the demands of their employees with the operational stability of their services.