Thursday, December 10, 2015

Freight Only Air Carrier Has Another Setback as Union Plans to Stop Cargo Flow

Industrial Action Threatened After Talks Breakdown
Shipping News Feature
LUXEMBOURG – Just as a week is a long time in politics, so it seems it is also the case in labour negotiations as the much vaunted collective work agreement (CWA) between management and the LCGB union at Europe’s biggest freight only airline, Cargolux, fell burning from the skies this week after appearing to have been a done deal just a few days ago. The reasons for the collapse of talks are seen very differently by the cargo carrier and its staff.

Cargolux says that talks were cut short this week after the LCGB backtracked on the principle agreement reached on 1 December. They declared unexpectedly to all participants that they considered the negotiations had failed as management was not prepared to accept their demands. For its part the union says the management was unwilling to transpose the principles agreed upon last week into the text of the new collective work agreement.

The airline had previously negotiated a deal with the OGB-L and now says in view of LCGB’s position both CLSC (Confédération Luxembourgeoise des Syndicats Chrétiens) and OGB-L will secure the significant achievements negotiated during the past 15 months and confirm their intention to sign a new CWA this week. All parties had reportedly agreed principle agreement on the main terms and the final wording hinged solely on items relating to pilots. The company had already agreed with OGB-L, CLSC and also LCGB on all points concerning Cargolux ground staff.

LCGB says management refused to agree to limit the size of its Cargolux Italia fleet after the agreed 3 year period expires. As this arm of the company has increased its fleet from one plane to four in the year in which negotiations had been underway the union believes that ‘uncontrolled outsourcing’ will continue when the 3 year moratorium ends. Additionally LCGB says that the principle of co-determination for pilots, that is having a say in management operations, was ignored by management despite being clearly defined in the expired CWA.

Additionally LCGB opposes the unilateral implementation of the new European flight and rest time rules for flight crews and has demanded any commencement of these regulations must only take place after close collaboration between the airline’s management and the pilot representatives. Management says it requested a complete schedule of demands for consideration but this was refused.

This of course is just another round in a battle which stretches back years. As Cargolux agrees terms with one batch of workers, so another, in this case the pilots, keep the whole dispute in motion. AS LCGB says it is considering industrial action we wait to see if and how this latest impasse can be overcome.