War of nerves at lufthansa – ufo fights for survival

War of nerves at lufthansa - ufo fights for survival

Flight attendants at lufthansa and its subsidiary eurowings are unlikely to strike again this summer. The flight attendants’ union ufo wants to take more time in preparing for possible labor disputes, according to its vice chairman daniel flohr.

Ballots are postponed and planned with longer decision periods for the members, so that strikes seem almost impossible before september. At the parent company lufthansa, a strike date is still completely unforeseeable.

It is much more questionable whether ufo will be able to stage large-scale cabin strikes like the one at lufthansa in november 2015. In recent months, the fast-growing union has done a lot to weaken itself. Board members attacked each other with accusations of disloyalty and corruption, two public prosecutors investigated, and ultimately the board completely disintegrated. The long-standing chairman and eloquent "mr.Ufo", nicoley baublies, submitted his resignation together with three other board members. The result is a three-headed executive board that now has to save the union from collapse.

The lufthansa group played hardball in its dealings with its struggling collective bargaining partner and instigated a small legal war. In a separate proceeding, the release from work and salary payments to ufo functionaries employed by lufthansa were investigated. Some ufo board members were suddenly confronted with demands approaching the million-euro mark, and the board members’ authority to represent the company was also called into question.

Lufthansa no longer wants to accept even a supposedly trivial matter such as the timely termination of current collective bargaining agreements by ufo, because the board members are not legally in office. There is obviously a lot to be said for this view: ufo failed in two instances before the labor courts in hesse in its attempt to force lufthansa to recognize the notices by means of an interim injunction. The main proceedings are still pending.

This wednesday, ufo’s ultimatum to persuade lufthansa to hold four weeks of negotiations on all outstanding issues expired – once again with no result. "At the moment, it is not clear to us when and how ufo can once again live up to its role as a predictable, constructive collective bargaining partner. Therefore, no talks are taking place at the moment," lufthansa told kuhl a few days ago.

In an internal message to employees, the company expresses its concern: management is "honestly concerned that the collective bargaining partner is increasingly disintegrating for economic and legal reasons, as well as due to a decline in membership and collapsing committees."At ufo, such revisions are considered to be made up crocodile strings. It is even possible that ufo will be destroyed, one official speculates.

As an alternative to ufo, at least verdi, and perhaps also the industrial union for air traffic (IGL), which was once founded by baublies, are ready. At eurowings, verdi and ufo have been battling for years over union supremacy. The DGB union does not really want to comment on the weakness of its competitors, but there were clear cracks between the two camps, which were not friendly anyway, at the dortmund-based airline walter (LGW), which flies short routes for eurowings with propeller aircraft.

When ufo unexpectedly announced the conclusion of a collective bargaining agreement at the time-freight subsidiary in june, verdi negotiator volker nusse fumed and spoke of a "precarious collective bargaining agreement" that would bring deterioration for many employees. The verdi man sees the competition in a nosedive: "after accusations of corruption and internal power struggles, the ufo is instrumentalizing the flight attendants of the LGW in order to preserve a residual semblance of a trade union."

In any case, verdi sees itself in the majority at the LGW and has pushed through renewed negotiations with the management in order to make the ufo paper superfluous. This could also happen at the larger lufthansa subsidiaries, including the parent company – the end of ufo as a union without strike power and valid collective bargaining agreements was near.


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