Staff shortages have caused a chaotic summer of travel. Labor disputes have made that worse. The pilots went on strike for one day last week and are going to go back on strike this week.

Lufthansa pilots strike on Wednesday & Thursday

The pilots in the passenger and cargo division of the company will go on strike from midnight on Wednesday, September 7, 2022, until midnight on Thursday, September 8, 2022, according to the union. The pilots went on strike all day on September 2nd. The pilots will be on strike for three full days.

The union has been in talks with management for a long time. The demands for a new contract were supported by 98.6% of the union's members.

Management and the union sat down for talks a couple of weeks ago, but were unable to reach an agreement. The union was ready to take action.

The situation was described last week by the spokesman for the Cockpit.

“Despite intensive talks between our collective bargaining committee and the employer, no conclusion could be reached about a promising continuation of the negotiations.”

“We’re too far apart at the moment. In addition to compensating for the loss in real wages, what we now need above all is a future-proof solution for the remuneration structure in all professional groups.”

The upcoming strike is described by the chairman of collective bargaining.

“We would have wished for it differently, but unfortunately the forces of inertia at Lufthansa are considerable. It is now important that the parties find each other quickly and with the necessary seriousness at the negotiating table.”

If you are going to fly with the airline in the coming days, you should keep an eye on this. All flights are likely to be canceled on Wednesday and Thursday.

Lufthansa pilots are going on strike for two days

What is Lufthansa’s pilots union looking for?

There have been huge pay increases for pilots at airlines in the US in recent months. What are they looking for? Depending on who you ask. All I can do is share what the other side is saying.

The demands of the pilots are modest. Automatic pay increases in the future are what the Cockpit claims to be asking for. Eurowings is one of the airlines that the union is looking for pilots to work for.

One way Eurowings and Eurowings Discover can save money is by not paying staff. A uniform compensation structure would eliminate some of the cost advantage of the low cost carrier and would also decrease how much flying is taken away from mainline pilots.

The management of the airline claims to have made a very good and socially balanced offer. Management says so.

  • Pilots have been offered a deal with an 18-month term, which would see pilots getting a total of 900 Euro more in basic pay per month in two stages, which would particularly benefit entry-level salaries
  • An entry-level first officer would receive 18%+ additional basic pay, while a senior captain would receive 5% additional basic pay
  • Alternatively, the union has been offered the option of allocating all or part of this elsewhere, including to structural changes, such as an adjustment to the pay scale
  • Management has also offered to guarantee a certain fleet size for Lufthansa and Lufthansa Cargo, seemingly as an alternative to raising pay at low cost subsidiaries

The union's demands would increase payroll costs by more than 40%, according to management.

In contrast, VC is not only demanding a 5.5 percent wage increase by the end of the year as a first step, but also additional compensation above inflation as of January 2023. According to current estimates, this would increase the payroll cost for cockpit personnel at Lufthansa and Lufthansa Cargo by a good 16 percent over the two-year period proposed by VC.

In addition, VC is demanding, among other things, a new pay scale with a higher base salary as well as more money, for example, for sick days, vacation or training. In addition to the 16 percent, this would increase cockpit payroll costs by a further 25 percentage points based on data from previous years. Even without taking the financial consequences of the Covid crisis into account, this is not acceptable.

In total, the demands of VC would increase cockpit payroll costs from 2.2 billion euros by probably more than 40 percent – or approximately 900 million euros – over the next two years.

Most work groups at airlines and airports are having labor talks. Many work groups didn't have the power to negotiate during the early stages of the Pandemic because of how much money the industry was losing Travel demand is back and workers have some power at the bargaining table.

The union is looking for Eurowings pay increases as well

Bottom line

The union and management can't agree on a new contract so the pilots will go on strike this week. A one day strike last week means that pilots will be on strike for three of seven days.

It seems like it's been a long time since there was a pilot strike, so it seems like it's time. It is a sign that the world is slowly healing.

Is anyone flying with Lufthansa in the next few days?