Breaking: Lufthansa Reaches Agreement To Avoid Cabin Crew Redundancies

Lufthansa has agreed with the UFO cabin crew union on how to handle the current crisis concerning job cuts. As a result of negotiations, each of the airline’s 22,000 cabin crew will be safe from redundancy, provided that UFO members approve the deal.

Lufthansa, Cabin Crew, Strike
Lufthansa’s 22,000 cabin crew could be safe from pandemic related redundancies. Photo: Lufthansa

Earlier this month, Lufthansa revealed that it could be forced to let go of up to 26,000 members of staff equating to 22,000 full-time positions across the company. Not all of these were cabin crew.

However, the airline has been working tirelessly with the UFO union to agree on how to handle the situation regarding cabin crew. An announcement on the agreement was expected on Tuesday, however, was postponed at short notice.

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Jobs protected

According to press releases issued in German by both the UFO and Lufthansa, cabin crew jobs at Lufthansa will be protected until the end of 2023. To ensure no layoffs, there will need to be temporary cuts elsewhere. After all, the airline is expecting a full recovery to take until 2023.

Lufthansa, Bailout, Rejection worries
The deal still needs to be voted on by the UFO’s members. Photo: Getty Images

As part of the deal, Lufthansa would look to save half a billion euros on cabin crew costs by 2023. Voluntary measures from the cabin crew would achieve this. The package would include suspension of pay increases, a reduction in flight hours (which would mean less pay), reduced contributions to company pensions, and unpaid leave, among other things.

A defining day for Lufthansa

The agreement comes 12 hours before Lufthansa’s shareholders are due to vote on the future of the company. At an extraordinary general meeting tomorrow, the airline’s shareholders will decide whether to approve a €9 billion bailout for the company. It is expected that a 2/3 majority will be required for the deal to pass, as attendance is anticipated to be lower than hoped.

Lufthansa, Bailout, Shareholder Vote
Lufthansa is preparing for a historic extraordinary general meeting. Photo: Alex Tino Friedel via Lufthansa

However, it seems as though the airline has cleared a significant hurdle. Its largest shareholder, Heinz Hermann Thiele, had been expected to vote against the deal. However, Thiele earlier told the German Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung that he would vote for the deal, saying,

“It is in the interest of all Lufthansa employees that management can conduct swift negotiations with the unions about the necessary restructuring,”

An olive branch?

Over the past year, we’ve seen relations become pretty strained between Lufthansa and the UFO cabin crew union. At points, the German airline even attempted to take the association to court to dispute the union’s status.

Lufthansa, Tel Aviv, Flight Cancelations
The move marks a colossal thaw in relations between Lufthansa and the UFO union. Photo: Getty Images

The previous spat between the two partied was today acknowledged by the UFO’s chairman, Daniel Flohr. In a German-language press release, Flohr said,

“The announced downsizing will not only work without layoffs in the cabin, UFO and Lufthansa are now demonstrating responsible ability to act and act after years of violent arguments. The procedures agreed in January will end, and from now on we will work together on a number of topics that have arisen in the conflict-laden past without any pressure.”

Do you think the deal with make it past members of the UFO union? Let us know your thoughts in the comments!