Union, Cargolux reach stalemate

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The Luxembourg Confederation of Christian Trade Unions (LCGB) and Luxembourg-based all-cargo carrier Cargolux, an all-cargo airline based in Luxembourg, are at an impasse over contract negotiations, which could result in a labor strike.

Cargolux management spurned the union’s proposed collective work agreement (CWA), primarily over the “scope clause,” which defines the number and/or size of aircraft that an airline can contract out to a regional airline. The purpose of a scope clause is to protect union pilot jobs at larger airlines from being eliminated by regional airlines operating larger aircraft.

Both parties exchanged their list of claims in September 2014, and now, four months later, negotiations have stalled. The union claims it made several proposals, which would result in accumulated savings to Cargolux of up to US$42 million. LCGB stated that Cargolux refused “on principle” to discuss a scope clause.

The union said Cargolux management repudiated the collective work agreement in December 2014. “With the continued lack of willingness of management to keep up a constructive social dialogue, the unions decided to engage the national conciliation board in the negotiation process,” said LCGB said in a statement.

Cargolux claims a new CWA, which delivers lower personnel costs – particularly crew, – and improved productivity, remains a key element to management in order to increase its competitiveness, preserve existing jobs and ensure the airline’s economic sustainability and survival.

The current CWA is in force until the end of 2015. During that time, Cargolux management plans to establish a timeframe for continued negotiations. Their goal is to achieve a better CWA suited to the current economic conditions in the airfreight business.

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