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Germany – Lufthansa may be hit by strikes over temp policy

18 July 2012

Lufthansa has not been able to escape news coverage over its new temp policy in Germany where the airline is continuing to hire agency flight personnel after it won a legal battle with the workers council this month. However, the German flight attendants' union UFO has now called on cabin workers to vote on Lufthansa’s new HR policy and is also demanding higher pay rates for staff after three years of pay freezes.

UFO has criticised the company’s use of temporary staff, which is part of the firm’s austerity package and the union is now threatening with strikes. It has asked cabin crew to take a vote on the issue after the union has been negotiating since April over wage increases and the use of agency workers.

The union claims that Lufthansa has declined to find a solution regarding the matter and the ballot vote therefore signals a last attempt to come to a peaceful agreement. Although strikes are not currently planned, UFO is not dismissing the idea. It said it was “willing” and “in the position” to lead short-term industrial action.

Lufthansa has made losses of around €13 million since 2011 and has launched a new austerity package to increase its business activities by €1.5 billion until 2014. This also includes the use of 200 agency workers, who, the union claims, will have to work longer hours. Although the contingent staff are paid the same entry level salaries as permanent staff, wage increases are not planned and the workers will also be excluded from retirement provisions.

Earlier this month Lufthansa won a court case against the workers council which had tried to put an end to the company’s temp policy. 

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