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Lufthansa ground staff win hefty pay rise

Published March 28,2024

Lufthansa's ground staff will get average pay rises of 12.5 percent under a deal reached after a series of crippling strikes, the German airline giant said Thursday.

The carrier and union Verdi, which represents some 25,000 ground staff, finally reached an agreement Wednesday, averting the threat of fresh walkouts over the Easter break.

The 12.5-percent increase was in line with Verdi's demands, and will be implemented in two stages over two years.

Employees will also receive bonuses to help combat high inflation of 3,000 euros, and improvements in other areas including extra holiday pay and flexible working hours.

Several rounds of direct talks between Lufthansa and Verdi had failed, but they finally achieved a breakthrough after agreeing to outside arbitration.

"We fought hard for this compromise and we can now be very satisfied," Verdi negotiator Marvin Reschinsky said.

"We have achieved real increases in real wages, which will make up for the shortfall of recent years."

Verdi members still need to take part in a survey to decide whether they accept the deal, but the union has recommended they do so.

The ground staff walked out in early March and in February, on both occasions leading to almost Lufthansa's entire flight schedule being cancelled.

Lufthansa cabin crew, who went on strike at major airports earlier this month, have by contrast still not reached a pay deal with the carrier.

The group -- whose carriers include Lufthansa, Eurowings, Austrian, Swiss and Brussels Airlines -- had to be bailed out by the German government during the coronavirus pandemic.

But it has since bounced back strongly as travel has recovered, prompting unions to argue the airline is not passing on enough of its bumper earnings to its staff.

This week's deal brings some much-needed good news for employers in Europe's top economy, who have faced a tough season of wage negotiations as workers push for higher pay to offset inflation.