Lufthansa and Flight Attendant Union Resume Negotiations, Strike Off Until October
German flag carrier Lufthansa and the union that represents the majority of the airline’s flight attendants, the Unabhängige Flugbegleiter Organisation (UFO), have reentered talks after four separate strikes that left hundreds of thousands of travelers stranded across Germany in the last 10 days. Deutsche Lufthansa and the 18,000-member UFO have been embattled for over a year over pay and working conditions.
The union has asked its members to return to work for the next six weeks as mediated talks resumed after last Friday’s 24-hour action by the union cancelled 1,800 flights across Germany. The resumption was largely due to Lufthansa’s announcement that Berlin-based cabin crews outsourced through Aviation Power would be offered permanent Lufthansa positions in 2013. Use of these crews has been among UFO’s concerns. The UFO’s 24-hour walkout last Friday is estimated to have cost Lufthansa between 15 and 20 million euro.
Lufthansa blames its current troubles and need to cut costs on rising fuel costs and competition from low-cost and Middle Eastern carriers. Germany’s largest airline plans to eliminate 3,500 office jobs as part of a larger plan to increase operation profits by 1.5 billion euro by 2014.