Lufthansa, Lufthansa Cargo and Germanwings have reached a deal with the Vereinigung Cockpit pilot union (VC) on all collective bargaining agreements concerning wages, productivity, transitional payments and pensions, in a contract that runs through June 2022.

Talks between Lufthansa and VC have been ongoing since 2014 and have resulted in 14 pilot strikes that cost the German airline group €500 million ($532 million).

According to a Lufthansa statement, the recommendation developed in February by mediator Gunter Pleuger for the collective wage agreement formed one part of the considerations. But the new agreement has made a formal acceptance of the arbitration recommendations unnecessary. Likewise, Lufthansa said it will not be pursuing a previously announced plan to staff 40 newly acquired aircraft outside the group-wide collective bargaining agreement (KTV). 

Details of the various collective bargaining agreements will be worked out over the next few months.

According to Lufthansa, the agreement provides a one-off balance-sheet reduction through the conversion of the pension schemes. In return for the cost-reducing elements of the agreement, 325 aircraft will be crewed in the current KTV flight operations in stages by 2022. “This will make it possible for Lufthansa to hire trainee pilots again in the coming years and create career prospects for pilots with a large number of positions for prospective captains,” Lufthansa said. “A reciprocal agreement to refrain from industrial action for the duration of the talks has already been reached, and is set to be formalized in a collective bargaining agreement that will last until 2022,” Lufthansa added.

Deutsche Lufthansa head of legal affairs and human resources Bettina Volkens said, “With this declaration of intent, we have finally reached a breakthrough. The path is now clear for a comprehensive settlement with Vereinigung Cockpit on all unresolved collective bargaining issues. This is not only the end of the longest collective bargaining dispute in our company’s history—it also creates a sustainable deal that will last until 2022 and, at the same time, lays the foundation for a new social partnership with the Vereinigung Cockpit.”

The agreement is subject to board approval and a VC ballot.

Kurt Hofmann