Lufthansa's proposed merger of its non-hub short-haul services with low-cost carrier Germanwings from 1 January 2013 has met with a mixed reception from employee unions.
Cabin staff represented by the UFO association appear implacably opposed to the move and are threatening a new round of strike action. Protests by UFO members saw hundreds of Lufthansa flights cancelled earlier this month in walkouts over pay.
A spokesman for the organisation describes the planned merger as a "nightmare" for the 2,500 staff who would transfer from Lufthansa into the new low-cost business.
Career progression would come to an end, the spokesman warns, as staff would no longer have the possibility of moving to more lucrative long-haul work within Lufthansa. Germanwings staff work longer hours to achieve the same rates of pay, adds the spokesman.
Staff are also baffled by the rationale for the move. He adds: "As a carrier, Lufthansa is in good shape. There is no need to do this so the employees do not understand why they need to change the system."
UFO represents about 75% of the affected cabin staff and it is consulting with its members over its next move, but further strikes could take place towards the end of November.
Lufthansa's pilots, however, appear more relaxed about the carrier's plans. A spokesman for the Vereinigung Cockpit association says a 2010 agreement has already seen its members working in the short-haul business accept pay cuts of around 20% and does not believe further cuts will be necessary.
There is also some doubt as to whether pilots will transfer to the new business. Vereinigung Cockpit understands that Lufthansa aircraft flying for the new business will effectively leased in. "If Lufthansa is written on the side then we have Lufthansa contracts not Germanwings contracts," the spokesman adds.
"In the long run [Lufthansa] wants to operate with Ryanair conditions but the question is if they can get it. But right now [pilots] will start on their existing contracts."
Lufthansa says around 90 aircraft will operate for the new business, including some on contract from regional carrier Eurowings.