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Germany – Government defends temporary staffing as strikes hit Lufthansa

31 August 2012

The German Government has again defended the use of temporary employment in a country where unions and some politicians want stricter regulations, coinciding with a cabin crew strike launched today against Lufthansa over the outsourcing of labour and better pay conditions.

The Government said that it wanted to “maintain the positive employment effects” of temporary agency work after the left-wing party Die Linke has asked for tougher regulations in the industry. It also praised the recent collective agreements which will introduce major pay rises later this year and announced a review of pay conditions for temporary workers in November.

Although the German Government is in clear favour of temporary employment and regards it as a major part of the labour market, cabin crew at Lufthansa have today gone on strike over the company’s use of agency workers.

The flight attendants' union (UFO) has called for industrial action at one of Germany’s busiest airports, Frankfurt am Main. The eight-hour strike started at 5am this morning and is not exclusively over temporary labour but also over improving pay and conditions.

The strike will impact both short haul and long haul flights with Lufthansa having reduced it flight schedule by a quarter, or 64 flights, during the hours of the strike.

UFO and Lufthansa had been involved in negotiations over pay rises and the use of agency workers which the union had tried to undermine. Union leader Nicoley Baublies said the discussions this week had failed “to prevent temporary staffing.” Lufthansa has employed around 200 agency workers, who are working longer hours than permanent staff and are not considered for wage increases.    

Mr Baublies also wanted to achieve a pay rise of 5% for cabin staff for a 15-month period beginning in January this year, rejecting Lufthansa's latest offer of 3.5%.

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