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Germany's Lufthansa Workers Want Workplace Mediation—But Will They Strike?

Monday, September, 10, 2012

Germany's world-famous airline Lufthansa stated this week that it is open to workplace mediation with the union that represents independent flight attendants (the union is known as UFO).


Unfortunately, the mediation may not work out. The problems between management and labor have already crippled the nation's Frankfurt airport, and could spell disaster in the future!

Civil Mediation—With Conditions


A spokesperson for Lufthansa has, however, put conditions on the mediation option. Executive Peter Gerber said that the company would only agree to mediation if the talks involved only wages, and not other issues such as the use of temporary workers.


UFO, on the other hand, is threatening a 24-hour strike if the company does not agree to hold talks that include more than just wages. What exactly does the union want?

Germany's UFO Wants Guarantees from Mediation Services


The flight attendants' union wants a 5% pay raise, but not only that. It also wants a guarantee that its workers' jobs will never go to temp workers.


Lufthansa, on the other hand, is offering a 3.5% raise—conditional with more work from the flight attendants—and offers no guarantees when it comes to temporary workers.

A History of Conflict for Lufthansa & Workers


The two parties have been in disagreement for over a year now—13 months, to be exact! Talks stopped last week, and the union has gone on “rolling strike” since that time.


This has cost the airline delays and money. The looming 24-hour strike threatens to cost even more money—as much as 50 million Euros (equivalent to roughly $63 million U.S.)!


The union represents about 2/3 of the airline's workers. While neither side seems to be giving in, there is still some hope in the air that the parties can get back to the negotiating table. Under German law, neither party can go on strike while engaged in mediation.