Cargolux pilot unions “not optimistic” about talks

Ahead of Monday’s crunch talks to avoid further strike action, Cargolux’s pilot union representatives remain unimpressed by an airline management proposal to hire 100 additional pilots.
Dirk Becker, general secretary of the Luxembourgish Pilots Association (ALPL), said that he was “not optimistic” about the outcome of Monday’s negotiations to hammer out a new collective work agreement (CWA).
Becker said that the airline’s board announcement on additional pilot jobs in Luxembourg did not “address the major points” of the union concerning the CWA.
Becker said that the OGBL and LCGB unions, representing the majority of Cargolux’s 450 pilots, were still no closer to finding a resolution to the airline’s use of Cargolux Italia pilots flying out of Luxembourg.
Becker described this as “uncontrolled outsourcing and social dumping” by Cargolux, which denies the accusation.
In its statement to Air Cargo News, Cargolux said: “It should be noted that, in 2015, Cargolux Italia indeed expanded the scope of its operations, however, Cargolux has expanded even more.
“Cargolux has added two new aircraft in 2015 and has leased in a third. Throughout the year, we added additional flights, as well as new destinations. We have, for instance, added flights from Oman to India, new services to Turkmenistan and expanded our operation at Zhengzhou with transpacific flights to Chicago."
Becker added that 100 new pilots had to be seen in the context of an air crew hiring freeze imposed by Cargolux in October 2014 and the subsequent loss of around 50 union member pilots since then due to retirement, medical issues or those finding a new job.
The two unions have also put forward proposals claimed to make savings of approximately $10m a year for the airline, most of which would be “shouldered by the pilot community”.
Hopes of a settlement were raised in mid-November when Cargolux said that it had reached a "principle agreement" on a new CWA with the OGBL and LCGB, affecting 750 ground staff, totaling 62% of all employees in Luxembourg covered by the CWA.
The LCGB pilot union responded with a ballot that came out in favour of strike action should a settlement not be reached.
A 24 hour strike by LCGB in late July saw 76% of Cargolux flights unaffected by the pilots’ action.
In its latest statement, the carrier said: “Cargolux is confident that, based on the board decision, an agreement can be reached subject to LCGB accepting the job security agreement and a compromise on the very few remaining open items.”
Becker added that industrial action by Cargolux pilots was the last resort and that he preferred finding “a workable agreement that is acceptable to all parties”.

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