LCGB Questions Cargolux Staffing Levels

Cargolux, the Luxembourg-based all cargo airline which has been showing good results for the past couple of years and an estimated US$ 100 million profit for 2017, has come under fire from Luxembourg’s LCGB workers union. The organization claims that despite the carrier’s success, the staffing levels are below standards needed in the future.

Staffing levels have been neglected by CV’s management, claims LUX union LCGB, putting safety and sustainability of the company at risk  -  picture: LCGB.
Staffing levels have been neglected by CV’s management, claims LUX union LCGB, putting safety and sustainability of the company at risk - picture: LCGB.

LCGB says there are insufficient staffing levels for safe operations
Whether the LCGB’s worries are unfounded or even exaggerated, remains to be seen. However, in a statement issued on November 28th, the union claims that due to the fact that business activities have grown so fast these past years, that staffing levels in all areas, especially with regards to pilot hiring, have been somewhat neglected.
It seems that the LCGB’s main issue in this respect is their concern about pilot fatigue and working hours, which although officially within limits, is in their view a serious safety factor. This, they state, also applies to work rosters of ground staff which are an additional stress factor for safe ground operations, they state. The union supports its claim by recommendations they say were issued by Cargolux’s in-house Aviation Safety Department to mitigate the known risk of fatigue amongst its pilots. The union further claims that these recommendations are often not followed by the company, thereby “putting safety and sustainability of the company at risk.”

Are additional staff hard to come by?
It would seem that the union’s main worry is that although Cargolux is also openly recruiting new staff - however, they (LCGB) are worried that salary packages offered by the company are below industry levels and will not attract capable new staff members. The union makes the point that “simply creating job positions will not solve the known problems, if Cargolux would not be able to fill these positions.”
Could it be that this may well lead to another in-house discussion or fight on future collective work agreements? The carrier went through this particular fight only a couple of years ago.

What does the CV management say?
CargoForwarder Global asked a Cargolux management spokesperson to comment on the LCGB worries - and we were informed as follows.
“The growth of our activities in recent years requires Cargolux to hire additional staff, especially pilots. Cargolux has recognized this and has been continuously recruiting additional employees since 2015.” The statement goes on to say that “we (CV) are running a recruitment program for pilots and other staff which will continue as planned throughout 2018. In addition to ground staff, we will hire an additional 60 pilots in 2018 and force to upgrade first officers to captain. It is also noteworthy that Cargolux in Luxembourg has a staff turnover rate of only 3%, which is testament to the job satisfaction and loyalty of our staff. The positive feed and the amount of candidates applying for pilot jobs at Cargolux has confirmed that the working conditions at Cargolux are attractive and competitive.”

Cargolux intends hiring additional 60 pilots in 2018, announces spokesperson Moa Sigurdardottir  -  photo: CV
Cargolux intends hiring additional 60 pilots in 2018, announces spokesperson Moa Sigurdardottir - photo: CV

Safety is paramount at Cargolux
Cargolux management is adamant about the fact that safety has the highest priority within the company and that fatigue issues are just as important and need to be addressed at all times. The company states that in this respect that their internal regulations for duty and rest times go beyond the minimum requirements laid out in the EU regulations
It can only be hoped that the LCGB and CV management will work closely together to allay fears on the above and ensure that the carrier can continue its expansion plans to the benefit of all.

New cooperation with Nippon Cargo Airlines
Cargolux announced today (29. November) that they have signed a cooperation agreement with Japan’s Nippon Cargo Airlines (NCA) which will allow both airlines to have access to each other’s capacity. In essence this means that through a code-share and space swap agreement, CV can co-load on NCA flights originating out of Frankfurt-Hahn Airport and NCA has the same rights on CV flights operating from Luxembourg to Tokyo’s Narita Airport. This follows on last year’s agreement between Emirates SkyCargo and Cargolux.

John Mc Donagh

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