A week after a hard-fought, yet tentative, “principle agreement” was hammered out between Luxembourg’s Cargolux Airlines International and its unions to avoid a possible strike, Cargolux reported that the Luxembourg Confederation of Christian Trade Unions (LCGB) has “unexpectedly” halted further negotiations, saying that the talks between labor and management had failed.
In a statement from Cargolux, the all-cargo carrier’s management seemed taken aback by the union’s announcement. “Cargolux regrets that LCGB, for its own reasons, terminated the negotiations at this late stage, when an agreement was within reach,” the statement read. “LCGB and its members are seemingly unable to accept their responsibility for job security and growth in Luxembourg. Cargolux cannot help but wonder about the reliability and credibility of a social partner who agrees on certain compromises, only to negate their own decisions days later.”
According to the Luxembourg newspaper Le Quotidien, LCGB Secretary Aloyse Kapweiler said today in a press conference that the union “had no choice” but to pull out since there was no guarantee that the carrier’s would not outsource the positions of pilot, which LCGB mainly represents. “The promises of management for maintaining jobs in Luxembourg were not firmly anchored in the final text,” Kapweiler said. “We will not do things by halves. The objective is to exert pressure that will force the management to give in.”
Hubert Hollerich, central secretary of the OGBL, was also quoted in Le Quotidien, saying he was “surprised and shocked” by LCGB’s decision. “All this was premeditated, and arguments presented to justify the non-conciliation do not hold water,” he said.
On Dec. 2, discussions between Cargolux and three of the unions representing their workers – LCGB, CLSC and OGBL – resulted in a general understanding on the most important points of a collective work agreement (CWA) for ground crews, with only a few remaining items to work out regarding pilots. In today’s Cargolux statement, the carrier said its management, OGBL and CLSC have “reiterated their intention” to sign a new CWA based on last week’s negotiations, with or without the support of LCGB. The previous CWA for Cargolux had expired on Dec. 1, after 15 months of negotiations.
According to Cargolux, LCGB has “repeatedly raised new claims and consistently showed little if any willingness to compromise on items concerning their flying members and representatives.” The carrier also said LCGB was asked to present a complete list of their demands to management and have so far refused to do so.