Despite a threatened strike on Sunday by flight attendants, Lufthansa has made clear that flights will operate normally. It has also insisted the planned strike is illegal. The true battle is over UFO recognition.
For years, the Unabhängige Flugbegleiter Organisation (UFO) has represented German flight attendants. But due to recent in-fighting and corruption, many flight attendants have walked away. Lufthansa has seized upon that to argue that thee UFO no longer legally represents flight attendants. In doing so, it has refused to come to the bargaining table, saying such talks are “not possible”.
Meanwhile, the UFO has insisted that Lufthansa is unjustly capitalizing on its internal issues to avoid accountability to it is workers. Sunday’s strike will last from 6:00AM to 11:00AM CEST and will include flight attendants from:
The UFO is seeking a 1.8% raise for flight attendants.
Lufthansa has refused to cancel any flights and insists that it will not. Instead, it believes most flight attendants will not respect the call to strike and instead show up to work.
Interestingly, it seems like both sides would rather wait for the other to blink than adjudicate the matter legally. While Lufthansa did ask a regional labour court in Frankfurt to determine the union status of UFO last August, that matter has not been adjudicated. There are emergency appeals that both sides could make to establish the legitimacy of the UFO, but neither is pursuing it, at least not yet. Perhaps both sides view the unstable status quo as a better option than a legal opinion against it.
At least for now, Lufthansa does not expect delays or cancellations on Sunday. But keep an eye out for court orders later this week that could declare the strike illegal or recognize UFO as the rightful collective bargaining unit for Lufthansa flight attendants.