Cargolux and Unions Come Closer in CWA Debate

After much discussing and even more quarreling including threats from the pilots to take industrial action the all-cargo airline and Luxembourg’s unions have basically come to terms on conditions of a new collective work agreement (CWA). However, before all parties involved finally sign on the dotted line, some details still need to be negotiated.

Moa Sigurdardottir – courtesy CV
Moa Sigurdardottir – courtesy CV

´Cargolux’s Head of Corporate Communications, Moa Sigurdardottir speaks of a “major breakthrough” on a new collective work agreement that has been achieved. The deal is “sealing a strong pact for the future of the Cargolux Group, with all parties underlining that they share a common vision for stability, sustainable growth and prosperity at Cargolux,” reads her paper.

However, besides announcing the basic agreement she does not mention contents of the deal that both the carrier and the unions have obviously agreed on. Instead, Moa points out that the principles basically agreed by all parties involved are twinned with the decision of the Cargolux management to invest in new jobs, amongst others one hundred new pilots, twenty new ground staff and an additional freighter for Luxembourg. Moa goes on to say that the negotiators have expressed their “commitment to move forward, boosting further Cargolux’s leading market position in Europe coupled with its growth in Asia through the implementation of the Luxembourg – Zhengzhou dual hub strategy.”

Still some work to do
However, less euphoric reactions came from Luxembourg’s Pilot Association A.L.P.L. when approached by CargoForwarder Global. Their Executive Secretary Dirk Becker said that there is still a lot of work to do before all sides involved – the A.L.P.L. is represented by the union LCGB – can sign the new CWA. Specifically he mentioned the Italian offspring of Cargolux that had long been a thorn in the side of the parent company’s pilots. Basically, the A.L.P.L. considers Cargolux Italia as threat to their own pilot’s status due to a lower cost base, but would accept the stationing of up to four Boeing 747-400 freighters at Milan Malpensa during the next three years from the day a new CWA is signed. This term could even be prolonged should parent Cargolux grow at its home base Findel Airport in the way assumed by its top managers.

Dirk Becker – courtesy A.L.P.L.
Dirk Becker – courtesy A.L.P.L.

And if not? “In that case we demand the four units in the fleet of Cargolux Italia to be reduced gradually,” stated Becker.

Asked about further negotiations between Cargolux’s management and the unions OGBL and LCGB, Dirk felt unable to indicate an accurate time frame. This, because some of the open issues still lying on the table need time for being precisely shaped and brought to generally understandable results. “There are still some important topics worth discussing and a lot of editorial work to be done before we are able to ratify a new CWA,” Becker stated.

When finally accomplished the members of both Luxembourg unions have to accept the terms negotiated between all sides involved before the treaty can come into force.

Doesn’t sound like a short or easy ride.

Heiner Siegmund

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