German airline Lufthansa could face further disruption after its pilots voted to strike if deemed necessary to force a collective agreement, a move that could trigger another wave of cancellations unless negotiators and Airline employee representatives can settle their differences.
Pilots’ union VC voted overwhelmingly in favor of strikes on Sunday, meaning Lufthansa could face work stoppages as early as next month.
Strikes would trigger additional cancellations on top of the 7,000 flights the company canceled this summer due to staff shortages.
“This affirmative vote does not necessarily result in strikes yet,” the union said in an emailed statement. “But it is an unmistakable signal to Lufthansa that it takes the needs of the cockpit staff seriously.”
Pilot strikes at Europe’s biggest airline would add to a summer of chaos across the continent, as airports and airlines struggled to cope with a surge in bookings compared to the slowdown caused by the pandemic.
After initially avoiding strikes that have plagued competitors like Ryanair, Lufthansa management is facing action from its various unions.
The airline canceled around 1,000 flights at its Frankfurt and Munich hubs last week due to industrial action by ground staff.
“We need a modern and fair, internationally competitive remuneration structure,” said Marcel Groels, chief negotiator of the VC, via email on Sunday. “In the interests of our passengers, too, Lufthansa must show a serious willingness to find solutions.”
Rising German inflation is leading workers across the economy to demand higher wages, threatening strikes in several sectors. Lufthansa pilots are demanding wage increases to offset the nearly double-digit rise in consumer prices.
After surviving a pandemic that has brought the airline to the brink of bankruptcy, Lufthansa is facing a wave of anger from employees who say they have borne the brunt of drastic cost cuts that they say have branded Lufthansa as a… have jeopardized premium airline.
Chief Executive Officer Carsten Spohr has pledged to increase the airline’s profit margin to at least 8 percent by 2024, a step he says is necessary to reduce debt.
Disputes with employee representatives suggest that Spohr may struggle to meet those targets as he tries to balance the need for more staff with cutting costs.
Still, the airline said this month that it returned to profitability in the second quarter, benefiting from rising travel demand that has forced the sector to hike fares and limit seat availability.
https://www.independent.ie/business/jobs/lufthansa-faces-more-turmoil-after-pilots-back-potential-strikes-41880214.html Lufthansa faces more turbulence after pilots dismissed possible strikes