Cargolux on Way to Becoming just a Letterbox in LUX?

Information released just before the Easter holidays by Luxembourg’s trade union, LCGB suggests just that.
Negotiations between the LUX-based all freighter airline and its unions on a new collective work agreement had only recently come to a standstill because of claims by the union management that the carrier was not sticking to terms agreed to between both parties.

LCGB head of communication Christoph Knebeler claims that outsourcing and social dumping continues at CV  /  courtesy LCGB
LCGB head of communication Christoph Knebeler claims that outsourcing and social dumping continues at CV / courtesy LCGB

Now, the LCGB adds further fuel to the fire by stating that Cargolux is undermining Luxembourg’s social model by transferring another of its aircraft onto the register of its Italian subsidiary, Cargolux Italia.
For the LCGB, this move is unacceptable and is in their view contrary to what the Cargolux management promised the unions as part of the agreement to re-open negotiations on the new work agreement.

Union model offers considerable savings?
The unions have maintained that their model presented to the CV Board of Directors would give the carrier considerable future savings and at the same time avoid any further need to transfer more aircraft onto the Italian register.
They also claim that the expansion of Cargolux Italia contradicts a statement made by Paul Helminger, CV’s Chairman of the Board in a press conference held on 23 February, in which it was said that any transfer of additional aircraft was to be suspended.

Negotiations now deadlocked
In its press release the LCGB even goes so far as to question whether the union and its members can still have confidence in the present management when it comes to protecting jobs in Luxembourg.
If the above were to be true, then it certainly seems that further negotiations are deadlocked and both sides must try and win back mutual confidence in order to avoid a disaster for the airline.

The LCGB has officially requested the Luxembourg National Conciliation Office (ONC) to try and put a conciliation process into place.
They further claim that pilots flying for Cargolux Italia work on standards below the industry average and that only one of the aircraft on the Italian register is actually operating on routes to and from Italy. The others, it states, are being utilized on routes into and out of Luxembourg.
This is, for the union leaders, a clear sign of what they see as social dumping and also amounts to an annual loss of one million euros in taxes and social security payments for each aircraft which is registered outside of the country.

3 freighters – punto e basta!
The LCGB fears that it is only now a matter of time before Cargolux becomes just a letterbox company at Findel Airport.

We asked CEO Dirk Reich to comment on the allegations raised by the LCGB. Here is what CV’s helmsman told CargoForwarder Global:
“Since April 1, 3 Boeing 747-400Fs are flying under the AOC of Cargolux Italia with 20 further aircraft being Luxembourg licensed (12 -8Fs, 2 –BCFs and 6 -400Fs).
Cargolux Italia’s 3 -400Fs are primarily serving routes linking Luxembourg with Africa (two of the aircraft) with the third freighter being deployed on round trips to and from East Asia, mainly Japan.”
“During the negotiations with both Luxembourg unions LCGB and OGBL it was agreed in principal that the Italian fleet (3 aircraft) will not be further enlarged in order to secure jobs in Luxembourg.”

Door remains open
Reich went on to say: “in return, the entry conditions of newly employed crews and ground staff in Luxembourg shall be reduced, with the number of duty days for the cockpit personnel being raised.”
He emphasized that based on these requirements further negotiations between the parties involved are scheduled to be held at the beginning of May. Finally, he expressed his management’s conviction that the consultations will be continued and a final settlement be reached, one which will please all sides.

The door to final negotiations remains open it seems.

John Mc Donagh  /  Heiner Siegmund

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