Lufthansa reaches agreement with Verdi union

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Lufthansa has reached a wage agreement for around 33,000 employees across the German airline and its cargo, maintenance and IT subsidiaries.

Negotiations with the service industry union Verdi had begun in February and led to warning strikes on 21 March and 22 April. On the second occasion, staff walked out at most major German airports throughout the day, forcing Lufthansa to cancel nearly all European flights and a number of intercontinental services.

The airline and union agreed to roll out incremental salary increases up to 5.2% while avoiding any redundancies over the 26-month contract period. The commitments will be retrospectively applied from 1 February.

Verdi says that Lufthansa further agreed to avoid redundancies until October 2020, but this only covers staff who will transfer from the main group to "new companies" that have yet to be established.

Lufthansa plans to move "certain administrative functions" to an operation dubbed Global Business Services. It will also re-organise staff at airports outside its main hubs in Frankfurt and Munich, says the German air transport employer association AGVL, which is closely associated with the carrier.

Salaries will increase in two steps in 2013 and 2014. Mainline staff pay will grow 3%, while wages at Lufthansa Cargo, Lufthansa Technik and Lufthansa Systems are to increase 4.7%. Salaries for apprentices will grow 5.2%.

AGVL says that an agreement for the airline's catering division LSG SkyChefs - which is "specific" to the unit's operations - was separately reached in February. Verdi had previously said that the negotiations included LSG staff, but the union latest statement from 1 May does not mention the catering unit.

The union could not be reached for immediate comment.