Cargolux hails “breakthrough” but unions remain “very cautious”

Cargolux has announced a “major breakthrough” in its negotiations with the OGBL and LCGB ground staff and pilot unions on a new collective work agreement (CWA).
However, the pilots body Association Luxembourgeoise des Pilotes de Ligne (ALPL) spoke of a "slightly too enthusiastic press release” published by the European all-cargo and said that the unions remained "very cautious".
A spokesperson for Cargolux said that the current round of two days of talks “clears the road to growth and financial sustainability, sealing a strong pact for the future of the Cargolux Group where all parties underline that they share a common vision for stability, sustainable growth and prosperity at Cargolux”.
The Luxembourg-based carrier, which has announced plans to create an additional 100 pilot jobs at its home base, continued: “The last intensive rounds of negotiations focused on crew related items."
ALPL executive secretary Dirk Becker added in a statement: “Today’s negotiation round brought new movement to the Cargolux collective work agreement negotiations.”
Speaking later, Becker confirmed that no agreement had been signed. The two sides have exchanged their proposed CWA texts which management and the unions will each study closely before meeting again for talks. A date has still to be set.
Becker said that he remained "very cautious", adding: "The devil is in the detail and there is a lot of detail in these texts. There is still a lot of work to be done by both sides."
While the CWA affecting ground staff has "minor" changes to the original document signed in 2006 but which expired on Tuesday of this week, the part relating to the pilots has been "rewritten" by management, said Becker. He added that Cargolux management had "moved forward" a union proposal to make $10m of annual savings for the airline, the majority of which would be borne by air crew.
Members of the LCGB pilots union have already balloted to take industrial action if the talks collapse without agreement, and any new CWA deal accepted by union negotiators still has to be ratified by the union members, both pilots and ground staff.
In its statement, Cargolux added: “The perseverance of the negotiating teams yielded a principle agreement with both unions on the new CWA terms that sends a strong signal on the company’s commitment to job security for our staff and an increased support towards maintaining the competitiveness of Luxembourg as the prime air freight hub in Europe.”
ALPL’s Becker said: “Cargolux and the unions will continue their negotiations in the upcoming days with the intention of finding an acceptable solution for all parties involved.”

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