Good news from Cargolux

600-Cargolux7478FtakingoffCargolux and the OGBL union, which represents the majority of its pilots, made a major breakthrough in negotiations toward a new contract.

Late last week we reported a blow-up between the two major unions representing pilots at Luxembourg-based Cargolux. Members of the smaller LCGB staged a one-day “warning action” that delayed or grounded about 25% of the carrier’s scheduled flights. This invoked an immediate response from the larger OGBL, which said: ““We don’t agree with the LCGB’s approach. The OGBL is not participating because we are actually in a negotiation process for the new Collective Work Agreement (CWA). How can you build up trust by industrial action? The OGBL does not agree with the arguments of LCGB.”

And sure enough, within 24 hours, Cargolux and the OGBL published a joint statement, announcing they had “reached an agreement on the main points of a new collective work agreement, covering a period of three years, effective October 2015.” This is, of course, not a new contract, more a letter of intent to sign a new contract. However, it does sound like the two parties are serious, and in the joint statement said they intended to have all details finalized in time to sign the new collective work agreement (CWA).

Among the points so far agreed are the following:

  • The company will offer significantly more part-time contracts leading to improved work/life balance of existing staff on the ground and in the air.
  • Newly hired pilots will have more available duty days leading to improvement in productivity of flight operations.
  • The implementation of the new European Flight Time Limitations will also increase flexibility and productivity.
  • New pay scales will apply for new crews and ground staff and the 13th month salary to be fully paid after 5 years with CV, leading to an improved cost situation.
  • Shift personnel will continue to benefit from paid lunch breaks.
  • Harmonized travel and hotel policy across ground and flight crews shall ensure equal treatment.
  • The number of aircraft at Cargolux Italia will be capped.
  • The company will introduce a new profit share system to increase employee participation.
  • The company will introduce an enhanced fidelity premium package.
  • The plans for a time unit freeze were abandoned.

How this agreement will sit with the LCGB union and its members remains to be seen, but the Luxembourg Pilots Association (Association Luxembourgeoise des Pilotes de Ligne, or ALPL) was quick to provide a sharply worded response to Cargolux’s earlier statement that the LCGB labor action was illegal. You can read the Cargolux statement here, and the ALPL response here, but it appears that, despite the progress being made by the carrier and the OGBL,  the inter-union conflict is not going to go away any time soon.

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