Lufthansa and flight attendants’ union UFO reach agreement
Lufthansa and UFO have reached an agreement on growth and the safeguarding of existing jobs on Lufthansa routes with a high proportion of leisure travelers. Lufthansa had previously announced its intention to continue operating as many as 14 A340-300 aircraft with a cabin layout optimized for leisure travel. This is subject to the condition that cost reductions of 20 percent can be achieved with all stakeholders. These cost cuts for cabin staff were agreed with UFO now.
The concept entails having no First Class and just 18 Business Class seats, making it possible to reduce the number of flight attendants on these flights while maintaining the standard of service. In addition there will be a new position for a purser who will be involved in the service routines on all A340-300 flights. This agreement also applies to the Airbus A340-300’s successor models in Lufthansa’s long-haul fleet. “This accord will enable us to fly competitively again and achieve growth, even on particularly price-sensitive routes with a high proportion of leisure travelers,” said Bettina Volkens, Chief Officer Corporate Human Resources and Legal Affairs , Deutsche Lufthansa AG.
The collective bargaining partners also agreed on an outline for creating new, low-cost platforms within the Lufthansa Group under the WINGS umbrella. Initially, they intend to focus on this segment on the basis of comparative studies and take account of the market environment.
Lufthansa and UFO were also able to agree on a roadmap for further talks aimed at renegotiating the retirement benefit systems. Together, the collective bargaining partners want to redesign the retirement and transitional benefit systems and put them on a sound footing for the future. This will entail switching from a defined benefit to a defined contribution system, i.e. in future it will no longer be the amount paid out that is guaranteed, but rather an agreed sum of capital that earns a market return. Employees should generally be able to obtain the same level of benefits as today; at least if they set their own contributions accordingly. Details of the funding arrangements will be the subject of further negotiations. In addition, all cabin staff should continue to have the opportunity to retire early from flight service.
An extension of the annualized working hours model and other seasonal working patterns were also agreed, which should enable Lufthansa to respond to seasonal fluctuations in demand in future. In return, Lufthansa gave assurances that, for a defined period, it would continue to work without temporary external staff.