German UFO cabin crew threatens Lufthansa with Christmas take-off
A German cabin crew threatened Lufthansa with a fresh bicycle after Christmas on Sunday, as talks on resolving a bitter dispute over pay and conditions failed to make any headway.
Speaking after the latest round of arbitration talks, the UFO association said efforts to reach a “credible and legally secure” resolution with the help of independent mediators have failed.
While there will be no interventions on Christmas Eve, Christmas Day or Boxing Day, “we can now announce a strike at any time,” Vice President Daniel Flohr told reporters at Frankfurt airport.
Lufthansa stewards staged a massive 48-hour strike last month that led to 1,500 cancellations of flights at German airports, affecting some 200,000 passengers.
In addition to the higher pay required, especially for entry-level jobs, the Union is seeking better benefits and easier paths to long-term contracts.
Lufthansa has long refused to discuss the claims, arguing that the union was no longer properly representing staff following an internal leadership race. He even challenged the UFO’s legal status in court.
However, the German flagship changed its stance at the November break, agreeing to arbitration with UFO leaders and two independent mediators.
Lufthansa said on Sunday that it continued to expect arbitration “to find good solutions” for the 22,000 cabin crew.
The mediators proposed new talks in early January, according to the DPA news agency.
Neither side gave details of the discussions, but German media reported that UFOs were seeking guarantees that the stewards would not face disciplinary action against the strikes.
Four of the smaller subsidiaries of the Lufthansa group have also withdrawn from the long-running battle for better wages.
A one-day strike in October resulted in several dozen flight cancellations at Eurowings, Germanwings, SunExpress and Lufthansa CityLine.
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