The pilots union Vereinigung Cockpit (VC) has cancelled their strike that would have affected long-haul flights departing from Lufthansa’s Frankfurt hub scheduled for Tuesday, September 16th, in the time from 9.00 to 17.00 CEST. The union said late Monday it had received a new offer for transition payment for those wanting to retire early.Although Lufthansa reactivated pilots who are working in the management to fly for the carrier.
The offer from Lufthansa regarding the future shape of transitional benefits ensures that pilots will still be able to retire early from flight service in the future. The system of transitional benefits will remain at the previous benefit level for all cockpit staff who joined Lufthansa, Lufthansa Cargo or Germanwings before 1 January 2014.
Two conditions for early retirement are to be amended, however, in order to achieve a reduction in expenses and make a contribution to Lufthansa’s long-term competitiveness. These modifications are the subject of Lufthansa’s concrete proposal.
The earliest individual retirement age for pilots at Lufthansa German Airlines is to be increased in stages from 55 to 60 years. This minimum age already applies to pilots at Lufthansa Cargo and Germanwings. The gradual change takes individual years of service into account and thus largely safeguards the positions of more senior employees. For every year of service that individual pilots are short of reaching 30 service years, the retirement age goes up by two months. For example, the earliest possible retirement age for an employee who has been employed at Lufthansa for 20 years as of the relevant date would increase by 20 months according to the Lufthansa proposal. At the earliest, they could leave flight service at the age of 56 years and eight months. Employees who have 30 or more years of service with Lufthansa are not affected by this change at all and can still retire from flight service at the age of 55, as previously the case.
The average retirement age of the pilots at Lufthansa German Airlines is to be raised in stages from 58 at present to 61 by 2021. The concrete offer also entails all employees having to work for a maximum of one year longer than they would like to over a period of ten years to 2023, but only if the average retirement age is not reached.
“These rules for future transitional benefits do justice to our pilots’ retirement planning and to the competitive demands facing Lufthansa. At this point too, we have to adapt to our competitive environment”, emphasized Bettina Volkens, Chief Officer Human Resources and Legal, Deutsche Lufthansa AG. “Under this offer, the earliest possible individual retirement age of 60 years would not apply to any members of the current workforce. We consider this contribution to be appropriate and reasonable. We are still very much interested in an agreement with the Vereinigung Cockpit pilots’ union”, underlined Volkens.
Lufthansa sent the concrete offer to the Vereinigung Cockpit pilots’ union today, along with proposals for dates to resume discussions.
In addition, Lufthansa has also sent this concrete offer to the individual pilots, in order to show everyone individually how they would be affected by the proposed changes to transitional benefits. Lufthansa also still intends to enable early retirement from flight service for employees who have joined or will join the company after 1 January 2014. Lufthansa has proposed further talks with the Vereinigung Cockpit pilots’ union surrounding the question of how the transitional benefits for these new employees are to be funded.
“From our perspective, the offer represents a good basis for negotiations with the Vereinigung Cockpit pilots’ union. We have also proposed talks on all the points that are still disputed. We hope that on this basis we can resume talks as quickly as possible and return to a constructive dialogue”, said Bettina Volkens.
Last week Lufthansa canceled 110 flights to and from Munich. On September 5th short- and medium-haul flights to and from Frankfurt were canceled. In April a three-day-strike by the pilots costs Lufthansa around €45 millions. Additionally Lufthansa was affected by strikes by airport staff.