Unions protest alleged ‘social dumping’ at Cargolux

Cargolux 1After Cargolux management said they would cap the growth of Cargolux Italia to four aircraft, they have transferred another aircraft to the subsidiary, inviting more trouble with the union that represents the carrier’s employees, which claims that the move is a form of “social dumping,” or the gradual replacement of workers with cheaper labor.

The union, the Luxembourg Confederation of Christian Trade Workers (LCGB), has once again entered the mediation process and could strike as soon as June 15. The Loadstar reported that five of Cargolux’s aircraft have been grounded even though there is enough work.

Representatives of the LCGB and the Social Force to Employee Service (OGB-L) met with Cargolux representatives March 12 to try to work out a collective work agreement. OGB-L agreed to lower entry salaries for new hires, including both ground staff and pilots, however the union is concerned that the lower-paid employees in the Italian arm will eventually take over higher-paying routes run by Cargolux Luxembourg.

The pilots want to raise the number of available crew-duty days to a minimum of 200 per year from the current 186, whereas the Italian crews are working 236 days per year. European Aviation reported that the working conditions of the pilots with Cargolux Italia are below the industry standard. It said that only one of the aircraft in Italy is flying on routes to and from Italy, where the rest of the fleet is used on routes to and from Luxembourg. For every aircraft transferred away from Luxembourg, European Aviation said, the result is an annual loss of €1 million in tax receipts and social security contributions in Luxembourg.

Although Cargolux has said it’s committed to the Luxembourg operation, five board members have left the company since the beginning of 2014. Recently, Marcel Funk, vice president of Cargolux’s executive committee, said he will leave the company at the end of the year, and will step down as vice president after April 30. Internal sources said he is leaving, after 40 years, due to differences of opinion.

Cargolux Italia, a joint venture between Italian interests and Cargolux, employs around 40 people, including ground staff and crew.

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