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Germany – Workers vote for strike against Lufthansa’s temp policy

09 August 2012

Cabin crew working at Germany’s largest airline Lufthansa have voted to go on strike in attempt to stop the company from hiring agency staff. This comes after the German flight attendants' union (UFO) called on workers to vote against Lufthansa’s new HR policy in July.

A strong majority (97.5%) voted in favour of a strike the head of the union, Nicoley Baublies, confirmed yesterday. But industrial action is not quite imminent as the union said Lufthansa has a “last chance” to avert the strike. The company has until mid-August to represent a “viable” offer, according to the union.

“If the management of Lufthansa is interpreting the signs of this vote correctly and shows interest in finally working again with its workforce and not against it… we are in the position to negotiate an ending to this,” the union said.

UFO has criticised the company’s use of temporary staff, which is part of the firm’s austerity package. It had earlier 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 remains sceptical and claimed that Lufthansa has declined to find a solution regarding the matter; therefore the ballot vote signalled a last attempt to come to a peaceful agreement.

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 staffare paid the same entry level salaries as permanent staff, wage increases are not planned and the workers will also be excluded from retirement provisions.

This comes despite Lufthansa wining a court case against the workers’ council in July, allowing the firm to continue the recruitment of temporary agency workers. 

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