Lufthansa buys a way out of chaos | Free press

Until recently, wage increases of up to 20 percent were unimaginable. With the Verdi qualification for ground staff, Lufthansa is primarily responding to the shortage of workers in the industry.

Frankfurt am Main.

Lufthansa has resolved the wage conflict with its ground staff with a wage contract well above average.

“The result includes inflation compensation and additional real wage increases,” Verdi negotiator Christine Behle said late Thursday night. According to experts, however, the macroeconomic significance of the transaction will remain limited for the time being.

Lufthansa does not seem to be dissatisfied with the collective agreement, which brings workers from lower wages almost 20 percent more money. HR director Michael Niggemann praises the construction of high base amounts and subsequent percentage increases. “We wanted to pay disproportionate attention to lower and middle income groups. In this way, we fulfill our social responsibility towards our employees and ensure our attractiveness as an employer ”.

There is a shortage of workers in the industry

In the aviation industry, the MDax group is competing with many others for the shortage of workforce, but must fill 10,000 additional jobs by the end of next year. Lufthansa and its passengers no longer need to fear further attacks by ground staff by the end of 2023. If HR director Michael Niggemann succeeds in pacifying the strike-ready pilots of the Cockpit Association, Lufthansa should once again be able to fly steadily in the profit zone.

Thousands of low-paid but systemically important employees have been lost at airports during a surprisingly steep reboot this summer. During the corona crisis, many people were not satisfied with the short-term work allowance, even after the raise, because there were no shift allowances, for example, Frankfurt airport operator Fraport reported. The flight of ordinary workers and workers from the airport to other workplaces caused a chaos in service this summer, which could only be finally contained with fewer flights. Lufthansa alone had to cancel nearly 7,000 flights to stabilize the system. It was also difficult for Fraport to find new employees, and recruitment in, for example, Turkey initially failed due to bureaucratic obstacles.

90 to 95 percent participated in the strike

Verdi has deliberately calculated for Lufthansa that small service providers, for example in the field of check-in, have significantly increased their salaries and have overtaken Lufthansa in their individual job profiles. Companies such as AHS, Aviapartner, Acciona, FraGround and Stuttgart Ground Services were able to achieve growth of up to 26 percent without any strikes, often starting at very low levels.

Part of the impressive growth can be explained by the tremendous need to catch up. In 2018, Verdi achieved two percent increases, 3 percent each, for Lufthansa ground staff over a 33-month period. During the corona crisis, employees waived holiday and holiday bonuses, and there have been no wage increases since May 2019. The high loads during the chaotic restart fueled the discontent. “We had 90 to 95 percent of the warning strike last week,” says Verdi’s strike leader Marvin Reschinsky.

The former head of the WSI union collective bargaining archive, Reinhard Bispinck, compares to the hotel industry and other low-paying industries. There, too, in recent months, double-digit wage deals have been concluded to tackle the severe shortage of staff. Florists, building cleaners and temporary work have also been significantly increased to keep distance from the statutory minimum wage, which rose to € 12 an hour in October. Aldi has been offering 14 euros for a long time and the company ensures that no one has to work for less than 13 euros an hour after graduation.

Will inflation be driven?

The Institute of Economics, linked to the employers, warns that high-wage contracts can fuel inflation even further. “The more new contracts follow Lufthansa’s example, the more the spiral of wages and prices goes,” says tariff expert IW Hagen Lesch. However, from the macroeconomic point of view, the growth of collective wages is still moderate. More important are the signals that will come from collective bargaining for the metal and chemical industries in the fall.

“IG Metall discusses this in a completely different context,” says Bispinck. The metal and electric industry is definitely not a low-paying industry, and therefore incomparable to groundhandling services or gastronomy. Given the demand for 8 percent more money so far, it is clear that the price increases cannot be offset by tariff increases alone, but the state has to support the people in other ways.

For ground staff, Verdi has demanded a salary increase of 9.5 percent over a twelve-month period, but at least € 350 a month. The result has now been at least € 325 over 18 months, plus a further 2.5 percent increase. The first fixed amount of 200 euros per month will be paid retroactively from 1 July 2022, from 1 January 2023 another 2.5%, but at least 125 euros per month. From July 2023, there will be another 2.5 percent increase. no minimum amount. Deadline December 31, 2023 (dpa)

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