Cargolux, unions making slow progress

During the long-running negotiations between Cargolux and its labor unions, management recently said that it will cap the growth of Cargolux Italia to four aircraft, and add one more aircraft to the Luxembourg-based all-cargo fleet. However, conflicting reports indicate that the unions representing the workers would agree only to the temporary transfer of one aircraft to Milan and that the plane would have to return to the Luxembourg register once a new collective work agreement has been finalized.

For much of the last five years Cargolux and the two unions that represent the carrier’s workers have been in disagreement over labor issues. The Cargolux management believes the carrier’s future health requires concessions from employees on pay and working conditions, while the union believes the well-being of its members requires guarantees from management that pay will not be cut and conditions will improve, and that jobs will not be outsourced to Italy (where Cargolux operates a subsidiary carrier under the Cargolux Italia brand) or to China since that country owns a 35 percent stake in the carrier.

Representatives of the Social Force to Employee Service (OGB-L) and the Luxembourg Confederation of Christian Trade workers (LCGB) met with Cargolux representatives March 12 to try to work out a collective work agreement. Late last year, the National Conciliation Office was called in to mediate negotiations after the two sides could not agree on several points.

OGB-L agreed to lower entry salaries for new hires both in ground staff and pilots. However, pilot representatives have not been willing to compromise on their request to raise the number of available crew duty days to a minimum of 200 per year from the current 186. Cargolux management says 200 crew duty days is lower than the industry average, and that Cargolux Italia crews work 236 days per year. The OGB-L has concerns that, over time, lower-paid employees in the Italian operation will eventually take over routes currently run by Cargolux Luxembourg.

A statement from Cargolux management said “Cargolux management is committed to sustainable development in Luxembourg and it has stressed that the preservation of jobs in Luxembourg is one of its priorities.”

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