Cargolux flights grounded as strike action continues
15 / 09 / 2023
Cargolux has told customers there will be limited flights from Luxembourg today as industrial action at the airline continues.
In an update to customers, the airline outlined how its flights are being affected, with many departures yet to be confirmed while other aircraft are confirmed as being grounded.
Meanwhile, this morning flight tracking website FlightRadar 24 showed only a single Cargolux in the skies – a 747-400 freighter operating from Hong Kong to Anchorage.
However, later on in the day (16:20 UK time) the tracking site showed around six flights in operation.
There are also no Cargolux Italia aircraft currently operating flights.
In total, the airline has a fleet of 30 Boeing 747 freighters.
In an update on X (formerly Twitter), central secretary of the OGBL civil aviation union Michelle Cloos said earlier this morning that it appears that the entire Cargolux fleet is on the ground at this time. “We keep up the pressure!” she added.
The OGBL and LCGB launched the strike action yesterday after talks over a new collective working agreement broke down.
“The first day of the strike was a great success: all the mechanics are on strike and all the planes are grounded,” OGBL said in an update this morning.
“The financial losses for the company will therefore be significant if senior management does not begin calling the unions back to the negotiating table soon.”
The unions would like to see a 6% increase in salary for the duration of a new collective working agreement.
The unions would also like to include protections against inflation, a new salary structure for ground staff and rules governing home working.
They say a 4% pay rise offered by the airline is “insufficient compared to the excellent results of recent years and in the face of inflation”
In a press conference on Wednesday, Cargolux chief executive Richard Forson said that staff at the airline had been rewarded well over the last few years and that the airline had offered a pay increase of 5%.
He pointed out that in the record years 2021 and 2022, every employee was paid bonuses of €75,946 and €85,296. In 2020, the bonus amounted to €37,502.
He also said that the air cargo market had turned since the boom of the pandemic years and that rates had been cut by around half since then.
The unions have said that it is unlikely bonuses in the coming years will match those of recent years due to the market downturn and the investment in new aircraft, although Forson says this has come from cash reserves.
The unions have also criticised Forson for revealing the bonus amounts paid.
“These maneuvers are unworthy of a general manager and it is therefore appropriate to ask the question whether the general director actually has the necessary qualities to manage the Cargolux company,” OGBL said.