Thursday, December 17, 2015

All Freight Airline Has a Good Week! Cargo Only Carrier Settles Dispute and Gets a Refund

A Happy Christmas for Cargolux
Shipping News Feature
LUXEMBOURG – Some weeks just everything goes your way, that must be how the management of Cargolux, Europe’s largest freight only airline must feel this week with the receipt of two pieces of very good news. Firstly the threat of industrial action by pilots has vanished after final negotiations meant the inception of a new collective work agreement (CWA) with all the unions involved, secondly that €790 million in fines that was annulled by the European Court yesterday included €79.9 million of the cargo carrier’s money!

Full story on the air cartel fines can be seen here, suffice it to say that it remains to be seen what the European Commission will do to try and restore some lost credibility, doubtless Cargolux executives will bask over Christmas in the knowledge that the very worst case scenario for the company is likely to be a review and probable downgrading of their indebtedness with a possibility that the whole case is now dead in the water.

As to the CWA, the last detail which needed addressing to complete it came when the threat of transferring more planes, and therefore pilots jobs, to Cargolux Italia, was lifted. Negotiations had been dragging on for over a year and the other unions concerned had already reached agreement with management. LCGB, the final union has now settled and issued a statement saying:

“LCGB welcomes the agreement reached, which avoids any threat of social conflict. By limiting the maximum number of aircraft at Cargolux Italia to four, LCGB has prevented any future outsourcing of activities and thus ensured the future of the Luxembourg site. Cargolux workstations have also been anchored in the Grand Duchy ensuring the recruitment of 100 new pilots now needed and the continuation of maintenance activities in Luxembourg. In addition, the bonus of profit sharing has been negotiated for all employees.”

The union says it obtained concessions regarding individual workloads and the introduction of a ‘joint committee’ to resolve any future labour related problems amicably before they become serious. For its part Cargolux management said how pleasing it was to resolve the situation after a final set of meetings in the last 24 hours of negotiations. All the three unions involved, OGB-L, CLSC and LCGB, had settled on a new three year CWA and Dirk Reich, Cargolux President & CEO, said:

“I am extremely pleased to have come to a common understanding with our social partners. With the agreement, we achieve a significant improvement in the flexibility and economic efficiency of Cargolux and send a strong signal for the job security at Cargolux and increased competitiveness of Luxembourg as a leading logistic hub in Europe.”