The deadline for approval of the new collective agreement expired on Thursday evening. Verdi now stated that this will not be signed due to a majority rejection by the German Lauda workforce.
In the struggle for the future of the Lauda bases in Düsseldorf and Stuttgart, the Verdi union is not going to sign the key issues paper for the collective agreement. The background to this is that a survey carried out by the employee representatives revealed a very clear rejection. The company carried out a vote itself and the key issues paper was adopted by a majority. This discrepancy also puzzles Verdi.
The managing directors David O'Brien and Andreas Gruber approach the employees in Germany almost every day and ask them to approve the new collective agreement. This would be the only way to keep the two bases open. In the most recent circulars, however, there is also a very different level of acceptance in Düsseldorf and Stuttgart. According to the letter from the Lauda management, around 60 percent of the captains, 66 percent of the co-pilots and 70 percent of the cabin crew in North Rhine-Westphalia have given their approval. However, the company wants to achieve 80 percent in all three groups. In Stuttgart the situation is different: 50 percent of the co-pilots, 70 percent of the flight attendants, but only 3 captains are said to have agreed. According to the letter, a total of 15 captains are employed in Baden-Württemberg.
The Verdi union presents completely different figures. A member information shows that 86 percent of the Lauda staff who took part in the survey organized by the employee representatives are said to have rejected the key issues paper. This value now also leads to Verdi informing the company that they are unable to sign the document. The resistance from the workforce would be far too great. Verdi also writes that some Lauda workers told the union that they only gave their consent because they were afraid of being fired without notice.
Verdi summarizes the reasons for the rejection as follows: “1. the low salary level - some captains lose more than 30% of their income and many cabin crews run the risk of not reaching the minimum standard of living, 2. the uncertainty about the future of the German bases, even if an agreement should be reached. " It also reads: “There will be a big discrepancy between our results and Lauda's results. Many cabin crews stated that they gave different answers because they could not be honest with the company for fear of being dismissed without notice. This is outrageous, clear evidence of Lauda's unfair corporate culture! On the pilots side, it is also clear that there is not an overwhelming majority in favor of this agreement: many pilots find the proposed agreement totally unacceptable, while others fear for their jobs and are ready to accept wage cuts and worse conditions. ”
The Lauda management announced in several circulars that there would be no further extension of the deadline, which expired at 17:00 p.m. on Thursday. If the signature of Verdi and / or the desired 80 percent approval of the employees fails, the closure of the bases in Düsseldorf and Stuttgart is to be initiated on October 31, 2020. When asked, company boss Andreas Gruber did not comment on whether the German locations would be closed for good or not. Verdi, on the other hand, made it clear that they are interested in a continuation, but expect acceptable conditions from the company.
The pilots' union Vereinigung Cockpit, with which Lauda does not even want to negotiate, also criticized the management's behavior. However, there was no clear recommendation for approval or rejection. Everyone has to decide for themselves whether they “play the game or not”. The company would “perfidiously” exploit the corona crisis to “force a considerable deterioration in working conditions while maintaining the threat of station closure”.
“They tried the same way as in Vienna. However, we remained calm and the riot against the union - Verdi could not sign it just because of illegalities analogous to the Vida - did not take place, to the suspicion of the company. Ultimately, despite the high risk of dismissal, some colleagues in Stuttgart and Düsseldorf did not sign this proposal for enslavement, far from the legal norms. So do I. We will take legal action in the event of expected reprisals in Germany. They don't want to understand any other language, ”said a German Lauda pilot.