Perhaps the third time’s the charm for Cargolux. After seemingly reaching an accord with its labor unions in mid-November, then prematurely announcing a “breakthrough” in its negotiations on Dec. 1, the Luxembourg-based all-cargo carrier has apparently reached an agreement with its three main pilot and ground crew labor unions – OGBL, CLSC and LCGB – to form a new collective work agreement (CWA) set to last three years.
On Dec. 16, after another marathon 24-hour series of negotiations with the lone holdout union, LCGB, over pilot benefits, Cargolux said all parties had reached an “amicable agreement” and the unions agreed not to strike. “With the agreement, we achieve a significant improvement in the flexibility and economic efficiency of Cargolux,” declared Dirk Reich, Cargolux’s president and CEO. “I am extremely pleased to have come to a common understanding with our social partners.”
The signing of the CWA ends months of sometimes cantankerous negotiations this year between Cargolux management and the unions, which had feared that the carrier’s increasing activities in Zhengzhou, China, and with low-cost subsidiary Cargolux Italia in Milan would siphon jobs away from the Luxembourg hub.
Cargolux, however, persuaded the unions that it had no intention of reducing the number of pilots or cutting their pay or benefits. The carrier pledged to hire 100 new pilots and add a new 747 aircraft to be based in Luxembourg. It also made promises to limit the size of its fleet in Milan.
Cargolux is Europe’s largest all-cargo airline, with a fleet of thirteen 747-8Fs and twelve 747-400Fs.