Lufthansa pilots vote in favor of industrial strike over wages

A picture of the Lufthansa logo at Frankfurt Airport in Germany, September 21, 2020. REUTERS/Ralph Orlovsky

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  • Return of pilots in the German carrier with a margin of 97.6%
  • The pilots of the “Suez” unit refuse the contract offer
  • Strikes and staff shortages have already hit the sector

BERLIN (Reuters) – Pilots at German airline Lufthansa (LHAG.DE) voted on Sunday by a 97.6% margin in favor of a strike, threatening more disruption during the busy summer travel season.

Strikes and staff shortages have already forced airlines including Lufthansa to cancel thousands of flights and cause hours-long queues at major airports, frustrating holidaymakers wanting to fly after the COVID-19 shutdown. Read more

Pilot union Vereinigung Cockpit (VC) board member Marcel Groels said the vote did not necessarily mean a strike, but was a signal to the employer that constructive steps should be taken.

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“We are showing that we are ready to talk,” he added.

A Lufthansa spokesman said they respect the results of the vote and hope to find a solution based on the negotiating table.

The VC pilots union is demanding a 5.5% increase in pilots’ salaries this year and automatic inflation offset thereafter.

It also wants a unified pay structure for all employees of the Lufthansa Group airlines, which includes the main carrier Lufthansa as well as the budget unit Eurowings.

Lufthansa was already rocked by a strike by its ground crew on Wednesday, which forced the airline to cancel more than 1,000 flights. Read more

Separately, pilots at Lufthansa’s Swiss International Airlines (SWISS) unit, by a margin of 80%, rejected a contract offer, the Aerobers workers’ union reported on Sunday, adding that it aims to resume negotiations with Switzerland’s management as soon as possible.

“If the administration continues to not recognize the signs of the times and does not immediately provide appropriate solutions, the pilots should show the management more clearly how unhappy they are,” she said, without going into details.

Aeroopers said the current contract expired in April after the administration rejected an interim agreement from initial talks.

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Reporting by Scott Stephenson. Editing by Hugh Lawson

Our Standards: Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.

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