German union rejects Lufthansa’s offer of talks ahead of strike

Germany today on Diplomacy Pakistan News

By Christian Ebner, dpa

The German flight attendants’ union Ufo has rejected an offer from Lufthansa to hold talks ahead of a two-day strike planned for the end of this week.

“We are not naive, the offer of talks from Lufthansa is a red herring meant for the general public,” Ufo vice chairman Daniel Flohr told dpa on Tuesday.

Ufo has called for Lufthansa cabin crews to strike for 48 hours on Thursday and Friday on flights leaving from Germany.

The airline announced on Tuesday that travellers with tickets booked during the planned strike can change them once for free to another flight of the Lufthansa Group within the next 10 days. Flights within Germany can also be switched to train tickets.

It does not matter whether the originally booked flight actually ends up being cancelled, Lufthansa said.

The company plans to create a substitute flight schedule for the strike days by midday Wednesday and then publish it online.

The Lufthansa Group says that it offers 1,540 connections daily on average. Of those, 580 departures are from Germany and around 380 are carried out by the Lufthansa core brand, which is being targeted by this strike.

Flohr demanded more signals from Lufthansa before considering a possible cancellation of the work stoppage.

“As long as the company writes non-binding letters while at the same time maintaining … procedures against Ufo, we do not see any changed attitude,” he said.

Lufthansa has gone to labour court to check if Ufo can still conclude collective wage agreements. Those proceedings are scheduled for April.

For the first time in months, Lufthansa had on Monday indicated a willingness to enter into talks with Ufo, even though it believes that its current board is not authorized to represent the crew members.

The airline had proposed negotiations from February 15, when a newly elected Ufo board is due to take office. Before that, “procedural exploratory talks” could be held in preparation, it wrote in a letter to Ufo leaders.

“Exploratory talks do not replace negotiations,” Flohr said. “It is not enough to spend three and a half months discussing the place and time for appointments.”

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