LH Strike pending

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This topic contains 19 replies, has 8 voices, and was last updated by  AMcWhirter 4 Apr 2014
at 16:54

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  • Anonymous


    If you are booked on LH on Tuesday it is probably time to make other plans:



    The BBC article makes reference to a THREE DAY pilots strike at Lufthansa, Lufthansa Cargo and Germanwings between Tuesday 1st – Thursday 3rd April 2014. Oh, and apparently this is the third strike to hit operations at FRA in six weeks, although the article is opaque about who it was that previously went on strike.

    I shall look forward to hearing about the flawless non-interruption to travel plans owing to this (latest) minor inconvenience.

    It must be approaching senility because I could have sworn that there have been previous BT postings lambasting BA management (and the bonus totin’ WW) for allowing industrial relations to deteriorate to the point of strike action. My recollection was the suggestion from certain quarters that at “Europe’s premier airline” (sic), management and unions would never allow things to get to such a low point. But it must be that I keep forgetting to brandish those “self-hating Brit” matching shoulder-chips so that I can assert that mismanagement, incompetence, poor service and letting down fare-paying passengers are uniquely British and BA phenomena…


    I understand that the earlier disruptions at FRA were due to problems with the gorund staff.

    Leaving aside the picky discussions about other airlines, does anyone have information about what might happen next at LH? I have four LH flights – two long-haul – between 10 and 12 April.


    Aviation Week reporter Jens Flottau says that Lufthansa is cancelling a total of 3,800 flights between Wednesday and Friday. The pilots’ strike is said to affect 425,000 passengers.


    An update now on flightglobal.com

    Lufthansa and budget subsidiary German Wings expect to cancel the majority of their flights during this week’s three day strike.



    DavidGordon10 – 30/03/2014 21:48 GMT

    I was caught in a Lufthansa strike about this time last year at only 48 hours notice. Their communication about the impact was very good and I was clear about my options. I decided to make alternative arrangements myself as it was easier to book an alternative than ask them to do it although they were willing. They sorted out the money aspect within about six weeks so while a strike is never desirable I was not really inconvenienced as I had new arrangements pulled together within about forty minutes of knowing what my options were.

    That dispute was settled after one strike with a reasonable compromise by both parties which seems to be the Lufthansa way of doing things so perhaps after this week there will be no more.


    Very interesting piece on industriual unrest across the airline industry in Europe at


    Interestingly, the piece suggests that Willie Walsh and IAG may have found the solution to on-going problems faced by LH, AF/KLM, SAS, AY and EI………


    It is noteworthy from the article Alec McWhirter attached that this dispute has now dragged on for two years already…. And with LH management having previously conceded much already to the LH pilots, just how many more such strikes can now be expected at “Europe’s premier airline” (sic).

    Interestingly CAPA’s analysis


    comes as close to endorsing the BA/IAG approach to addressing legacy labour costs as I have read anywhere. As the article concludes, there is no such thing any more as a “too big to fail” airline. We cannot all be bankers benefiting from an implicit taxpayer guarantee and subsidy to our bottom line (as per the Bank of England’s Financial Stability reports).


    May I respectfully detail some facts AnthonyDunn…

    Walsh inherited a company which had the fundamentals to be “the World’s favourite Airline” in addition to make £875 million operating profit.

    Eddington steered BA through the aftermath of 9/11 plus an economic downturn which devastated legacy airlines to provide Walsh with a very strong starting position.

    Competition constrained LHR is a gold mine for BA/IAG and will continue to fund Walsh’s follies and bonuses – no wonder Walsh baulks at an estuary solution as it would open the affluent SE/London market to a whole raft of competition.

    Yes Walsh had helped tackle the pension problem, (as many other CEOs of de-nationalised companies have had to tackle deficit & transitioning from final salary/defined benefits to money purchase schemes) and competition from low cost carriers.

    Wrt Iberia
    1. Walsh seriously overvalued/overpaid for the asset, badly timed the purchase and failed to ensure IB were restructured before the merger.
    2. IB restructuring initially cost around €1 Billion.
    3. IB industrial action lasted around 3 years.
    4. From the IAG interim report (exceptional items) in March 2014…

    …In March 2013, Iberia accepted the appointed mediator’s labour agreement proposal. As a result management recorded an additional €265 million related to employee restructuring costs….

    So that is another quarter of a BILLION on top of the € Billion loss due to bad leadership.

    Yet Hippo and others wax lyrical that Walsh is some genius having been gifted a high performing company with a fort knox home base to print money – the economy permitting.

    Wrt BA.

    1. Huge distrust of leadership by the employees – is it around 70% ?
    2. Huge schisms resulting in duplicate workforce, poor moral and motivation. Disengaged when company is in need hence inability to react to weather/IT/runway etc situations.
    3. High cost Legacy cabin crew are still 60-70% of the crew ? yet BA (due to LHR) makes a very good return.

    Walsh was wise to a) Buy off BA pilots – though did create a schism b) Buy the already highly profitable Vueling c) Buy BMI to secure more slots and stymie competition.

    Rather than being adept at restructuring the record will show that IAG pays a very high price monetarily and emotionally, it pays over the odds then tries to bully into submission at further cost.

    So am in agreement with JH that there will be a compromise and the company can move on as one, and not as with IAG way being split, distrusting, demotivated workforce.

    I would love to see some of the senior teams from Waterside building morale by being seen to role up their sleeves and clean an aircraft interior occasionally as SouthWest’s leadership do. If BA is seeking to compete with LOCOs then adopt a behaviour of Southwest’s pilots who already often help cleaning down route to speed turnaround.


    @ BigDog. – 03/04/2014 18:22 GMT
    EDITED subsequent to first posting

    May I respectfully request that you take issue with CAPA – as the author of the item – rather than me?

    You have compiled a €billion+ of losses that you claim have accrued as a result of WW’s leadership and management style. As far as the IB deal is concerned, I too believe that WW mistimed and overpaid but after having had a succession of deals with KLM, US Air and United blocked, by the time of the IB deal, it was one of the few options left that potentially provided any synergy. But WW paid too much and having had the Spaniards crawl all over the BA pensions issue, he failed to insist that they get their own house in order too. My criticism also extends to the due diligence carried out by the investment bankers and the management consultants that BA had in at the time.

    As you have either forgotten or have chosen to overlook the point, I will reiterate that I am/have been a consistent and fierce critic of the WW “We’re all in it together – just some less so than others…” school of management whereby others get to take the pay and pension cuts but he gets to skim the cream off the top. But let’s face it, that is how the Anglo-American business model operates: with the rewards accruing to the board/senior management (and possibly the shareholders) and the proles being told to mind their Ps and Qs – or get fired.

    Which, actually, is yet another reason why I continue to admire and promote the fundamentally participatory and social democratic business model employed in Germany. It is just the fawning/chippy “only the Germans can do anything competently…” mindset that I take issue with. This does also lead me to wonder just how well this fits with the ability of “Europe’s premier airline”… to make the necessary adjustment to remuneration costs to render LH competitive in the longer-run.


    BigDog. – 03/04/2014 18:22 GMT +1

    And also to add it would be a fool who thought the BA pilots were all happy in their work. Many are anything but and a day is coming where they will flex their muscles again and if necessary ground the airline.

    What will Willie do then? Fly a plane himself? Dismiss them all and employ the cleaners to do a bit of flying?

    He will be between a rock and a hard place and I’m looking forward to seeing how he deals with that one.


    @ JohnHarper – 03/04/2014 19:03 GMT

    And you can point out the example of an airline, or indeed a company in any sector, where the entire staff and management are happy with their lot…? And the source of your assertion (as opposed to an objective fact) re: BA flight deck crew?


    AnthonyDunn – 03/04/2014 23:37 GMT

    To answer your first point, no, I don’t know of a compay where the entire staff and managment are happy with their lot except of course my own 😉

    Perhaps you could explain why you ask such a pointless question?

    The source of my point is a number of BA staff including a number of pilots who are my friends and neighbours. I would trust what they are telling me.


    Pointless argument all round, no group of employees are going to like their pay and benefits being cut, be that at BA, Iberia, Air France, KLM, Lufthansa, Austrian Qantas, etc.

    The point the CAPA article is making is that all these airlines are having to go through this process, and BA / Iberia are further advanced in the process than others.

    Lets just leave it at that rather than turning a LH strike pending thread into the usual repetitive Willie Walsh rant thread!

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