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Lufthansa cuts short-term deal with union to save pilot jobs

written by Hannah Dowling | August 20, 2020
A file image of a Lufthansa Airbus A350-900. (Airbus)
A file image of a Lufthansa Airbus A350-900. (Airbus)

Lufthansa has reached a temporary deal with the German Vereinigung Cockpit pilots union, which will delay the onset of any pilot redundancies until at least March 2021.

The deal intends to buy both parties more time to settle negotiations for the longer-term, as the airline continues to battle with the COVID-19 induced aviation downturn.

As a part of the deal, Lufthansa pilots have agreed to delay a collective pay rise until January 2021, while the airline will cut costs by reducing additional payments made on top of short-term working allowances, paid for by the German government.

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The German flag carrier will also temporarily reduce pension contributions from September onwards.

Markus Wahl, president of the pilots union, said, “We clearly reject Lufthansa’s threat to announce redundancies for operational reasons. In our opinion, a social partnership must show how resilient it is, especially in bad times.

“The pilots are ready to make a noticeable contribution to keep the entire cockpit staff on board. Maintaining jobs continues to have top priority.”

Previously, the union had pushed to temporarily cut pilot wages by as much as 45 per cent, requesting for a guarantee that no Lufthansa pilots would lose their job in return.

The airline rejected this proposal, and warned that as many as 600 pilots could face job losses. 

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Lufthansa also said it anticipated a “significant overcapacity” of pilots well into 2021 and beyond. 

As negotiations between the parties continue for a long-term solution, sources close to the matter suggest that a reduction in working hours and pay could be implemented for the duration of the crisis, to minimise job losses.

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