Eurowings pilots are on strike on Thursday – economy


A few weeks ago, when the conflict between Lufthansa and its pilots reached its temporary peak – i.e. strike – there were debates among the employees about the goals: More money or better working conditions? In the end, Lufthansa added almost 1,000 euros a month per pilot and defused the situation after a day of strikes, at least for the moment. At the subsidiary Eurowings working conditions are now the focus. And there will be a strike again. The dispute had escalated for weeks.

After ten rounds of negotiations, which did not lead to an acceptable result from the perspective of the Vereinigung Cockpit (VC) pilots’ union, they called their members to a one-day meeting on Thursday strike on. “It’s not enough to sit at the negotiating table – you also have to be willing to find a solution and not present counter-demands as an offer,” says VC collective bargaining board member Marcel Gröls. Eurowings had actually planned around 500 flights for Thursday, the third day of the autumn holidays in North Rhine-Westphalia. According to the company, only around half of these will actually take place.

The rest periods for pilots are currently short

The union complains that the collective agreement governing working conditions has remained unchanged since 2015. However, the management uses the permitted flight hours of the pilots to the maximum, as a result the rest times are low. According to the union, the workload has increased significantly and this cannot be permanent. That’s only part of the problem. Like most other airlines, Eurowings is struggling to cope with the high demand after the corona pandemic collapsed. Since the airline serves many holiday destinations, it flew to the limit, especially last summer.

Eurowings itself considers VC’s demands to be excessive. “Despite two upcoming salary increases of well over ten percent in the next four months, VC is demanding 14 additional days off per year and a reduction in the maximum weekly working time by five hours,” complains Eurowings HR manager Kai Duve. “In times when millions of people are afraid of a cold winter and the next heating bill, that’s not just excessive.” Duve claims that Eurowings could no longer operate 20 percent of their current flights economically if VC were to prevail with their demands. The airline has offered many improvements in leisure time, and the working conditions are already among the best among airlines in direct intra-European traffic.

However, Eurowings has the same problem as the parent company Lufthansa and many other airlines: the pilots are currently in an extremely strong negotiating position, because there are currently too few to be able to carry out the many flights. Incidentally, the Eurowings crews can afford to focus on working conditions: In an earlier round, they had agreed automatic inflation compensation with the company in the collective wage agreement when inflation was not yet a big issue.



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