Lufthansa faces pilot strike Friday afternoon

Lufthansa tail
Lufthansa tail (© European-Aviation.net)

The pilots of german flag carrier Lufthansa go on strike this afternoon (5. September). The pilot union „Vereinigung Cockpit“ (VC) told that talks with the management of Lufthansa has failed. Both sides tried to reach an agreement over the early retirement scheme. Thats why all short- and medium haul flights from Frankfurt with Airbus A320, Boeing 737 and Embraer will be canceled between 5 to 11 p.m.

All long-haul flights will presumably operate as scheduled, as will flights from Lufthansa’s Munich hub. All flights of Lufthansa Group airlines Austrian Airlines, Brussels Airlines, Germanwings and Swiss (operated by OS, SN, 4U, LX) will operate as scheduled.

Following the announcement by VC of a strike in Frankfurt today, Lufthansa published a special flight plan for this afternoon online at www.LH.com and 14,000 booked passengers were informed at the same time by text message. These passengers had previously registered their contact details so that Lufthansa could notify them of flight cancellations, rebookings and alternative travel options.

As a precaution, 2,200 hotel rooms have been reserved in the Rhine-Main area, and Lufthansa and Fraport have set up some 500 field beds for passengers in transit who are not allowed to enter Germany for visa reasons. From 2.00 p.m. onwards, the staff at the Frankfurt station will be providing passengers affected by the strike with refreshments, snacks and the opportunity to use telecommunications. Mobile information stands will also be set up and capacities increased at the ticket counters.

Lufthansa’s offer on transitional benefits provides for the following:

  • For employees who have been working at Lufthansa since before 1 January 2014, Lufthansa will bear the costs of early retirement, including in the future. This means that employer-financed transitional benefits will be maintained for several decades.
  • For employees who start or have started work at Lufthansa after 1 January 2014, it will still be possible to retire early from flight service. However, the costs of this will no longer be borne by Lufthansa, but rather by the employees. In the event of incapacity for flight service, a purely employer-financed insurance policy will still be included for all employees.
  • The individual age for retiring from flight service will be raised, depending on the length of service, from 55 for more senior up to 60 for younger employees. The longer employees have already been in the company, the less affected they will be by the increase in the earliest possible individual retirement age. Employees who have been with the company for a very long time are not affected at all by the changes.
  • Today, on average, cockpit crew leave Lufthansa German Airlines at the age of 59. In future, the average age for employer-financed retirement from flight service at Lufthansa German Airlines is intended to go up gradually over several years to 61. The average age of 61 reflects an overall trend in society towards a longer working life.

In April a three-day-strike by the pilots costs Lufthansa around €45 millions. Additionally Lufthansa was affected by strikes by airport staff.

In a ballot in March this year, the pilots of Lufthansa, Lufthansa Cargo and Germanwings sent a clear signal. With a majority of 99.1%, they voted to establish a new contract regulating their transition to retirement, if necessary by use of industrial action.  It should remain possible for pilots, who have been exposed for decades to the rigours of aviation, to choose the point at which they leave their profession.

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