Lufthansa agrees ‘large salary increase’ to avert strikes

Lufthansa has reached agreement with the union representing 20,000 ground staff on a pay deal it hopes will avert further strikes although the carrier remains in negotiations with pilots.

German carrier Lufthansa has agreed a wage rise of just over 19% for the lowest-paid ground workers and 8.3% for the highest paid.

The agreement with trade union Verdi follows a one-day ‘warning strike’ by Lufthansa ground staff on July 27.

Lufthansa and Verdi agreed an 18-month collective pay agreement.

More: Lufthansa reveals disruption costs ten times higher than BA’s

Michael Niggemann, a member of the Lufthansa executive board and the carriers’ chief officer for human resources, said: “We have agreed on large salary increases.

“It was especially important to us to give disproportionately higher consideration to the lower and middle income groups.

“With this, we are living up to our social responsibility for our employees and ensuring our attractiveness as an employer.”

He added: “In view of the continuing high burdens caused by the pandemic and the uncertain economic situation, we have spread the increase over several stages and through an 18-month term.”

The deal comprises a fixed payment of €200 per month per employee backdated to July 1 plus an increase in basic monthly pay of 2.5% or at least €125 from January 1, 2023, and a further 2.5% from July 1 next year.

This works out as an increase of 19.2% on pay of €2,000 per month, 13.6% on €3,000 and 8.3% on €6,500 a month, according to Lufthansa.

The agreement remains subject to approval by Verdi members.

Lufthansa confirmed it remains in talks with cabin crew and pilots, who have voted overwhelming to strike over pay.

Niggemann reaffirmed the Lufthansa management’s desire to reach an agreement after the one-day strike by ground staff cost it about €36 million.

Lufthansa Group chief executive Carsten Spohr said he was “optimistic” of reaching settlements with both groups of workers last week as he reported a return to profit in the three months to June.

The group – which comprises Swiss, Austrian Airlines, Brussels Airlines and Eurowings as well as Lufthansa – achieved a €259-million profit in the quarter despite incurring €158 million in ‘irregularity costs’ due to flight disruption.

Spohr warned: “We are reaching the limits of our staff capacities due to the extra work required to deal with flight irregularities and a high sickness rate.”

More: Lufthansa reveals disruption costs ten times higher than BA’s

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