Unions call for parliamentary protest into Cargolux strategy

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Attempts to quell the simmering dispute between freight operator Cargolux and trade unions representing its workforce appear to have so far failed.

Negotiations between the two sides over the termination over a collective workforce agreement in September commenced on 26 October. However, the talks lasted 10 minutes, according to Hubert Hollerich of the OGBL union in Luxembourg, merely allowing enough time to fix the date of the next meeting.

The union's response has been to call a demonstration for 13 November in front of Luxembourg's parliament. It is urging the principality's government to take a more active role in the way the airline is managed in order to safeguard jobs and prevent any "outsourcing or delocalisation" of Cargolux operations.

Among the demands, issued jointly with the LCGB union, are that Luxembourg's leaders "rethink the role of Qatar Airways" in the carrier. Qatar owns a 35% stake in Cargolux and management appointed by the Middle Eastern airline are likely to drive through a wholesale restructure of the business.

Consultancy Oliver Wyman has been appointed by the carrier to advise on its future strategy, with its report due to be presented at a board meeting on 30 November. One key change being considered, says Hollerich, is whether to register Cargolux's aircraft in Qatar.

Cargolux insists that no decisions on the airline's future strategy have been taken. "Overall, we seek to improve efficiency and productivity and aim to optimise the cost structure of the airline. This includes looking at opportunities to explore new revenue streams," it says.