Wednesday, February 15, 2017

Lufthansa, pilot union negotiators accept recommended settlement

Lufthansa and the negotiating committee of pilot union Vereinigung Cockpit (VC) have accepted a mediator’s recommendations to end a pay dispute that has resulted in repeated flight deck crew strikes.

The German flag carrier said the settlement, which covers Lufthansa, Lufthansa Cargo and Germanwings pilots, will add €85 million ($90.1 million) in annual costs.

VC said in a statement that assessing the mediator’s recommended terms was “very difficult and required maximum compromise from the pilots.” It called the settlement “acceptable,” but noted that rank-and-file pilots have the “final word” and will now vote on whether to accept the terms. The voting will conclude by the end of March. The VC negotiating committee is recommending the pilots vote to accept the mediator’s terms; an affirmative vote would solidify a deal that will last until the end of 2019.

To account for the additional costs, Lufthansa said it would adjust its fleet plan by staffing 40 new aircraft with Lufthansa Group pilots not covered by the terms of the deal. Ground staff and cabin crew are not affected.

Lufthansa chairman and CEO Carsten Spohr told ATW last week in Brussels that the company could extend its cost-cutting “Jump” project, which launched in 2015, in which pilots from its Lufthansa City Line regional subsidiary would be used on reconfigured Airbus A340-300s for long-haul flights at lower costs.

The mediator’s recommendations include a total 8.7% pay increase for 5,400 Lufthansa, Lufthansa Cargo and Germanwings pilots in four stages under the following terms: A retroactive 2% monthly pay raise from Jan. 1, 2016, rising to 2.3% as of Jan. 1, 2017; another pay increase of 2.4% from Jan. 1, 2018; and a further 2% pay increase from Jan.1, 2019. The pilots will collectively receive an additional one-off payment of approximately €30 million, which is expected to total around €5,000 to €6,000 per full-time employee.

(Kurt Hofmann and Aaron Karp - ATWOnline News)

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