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Strikes Finally Over for Lufthansa Cabin Crew

A cabin crew member wears a pin badge with the word strike and the Independent Flight Attendant Organisation (UFO) cabin crew union logo on her uniform during industrial action outside Frankfurt Airport, operated by Fraport AG, in Frankfurt, Germany, on Friday, Nov. 6, 2015. Lufthansa faces a week-long strike by cabin crew as part of a long-running dispute with unions related to plans to expand low-cost unit Eurowings. Photographer: Martin Leissl/Bloomberg

The lengthy labor dispute between Germany’s Lufthansa and its cabin crew union is finally over.

Ending two years of strikes, Lufthansa has finally come to an agreement with the flight attendants union, Unabhängige Flugbegleiter Organisation (UFO). The agreement includes a three-year wage deal for cabin crew. Under this deal, union members can expect a 1 percent pay raise in October and 2 percent more in January 2018.

With this new agreement, Lufthansa’s crew costs per hour will go down by about 10 percent based on pension plan changes. Also, if reductions in workforce are necessary by the airline, flight attendants will not be fired through 2021. Lufthansa also agreed not to operate planes with external cabin staff before 2023.

“The agreement with UFO is an important milestone toward securing our future viability,” Lufthansa’s human-relations chief Bettina Volkens said at a Berlin press conference on Tuesday.

The airline and the union have been in arbitration since January after multiple strikes of the union’s 19,000 members. At that time, the group accepted a $3,300 one-time payment and a 2.2 percent increase in wages throughout 2016. The new deal changes union member retirement plans as well, from defined benefits to a defined-contribution program.

Employees are voting on the deal by August 10. Meanwhile, Lufthansa is still in negotiations with the pilots union Vereinigung Cockpit, who have been striking for the past two years over pay, benefits and retirement issues, compacted by the company’s plan to switch Eurowings to a low-cost business division.

According to the American Journal of Transportation, the past two years of strikes has cost Lufthansa $510 million in profits.

[Photo: Martin Leissl/Bloomberg]

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FlyingNone July 8, 2016

Finally over....until.the.next.one.