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Even Lufthansa’s Italian workforce is walking out on airline negotiations

May 27, 2013 8:32 am

Skift Take

The biggest obstacle to increasing Lufthansa’s growth and profitability is internal relations, an issue that could be solved if approached correctly.

— Samantha Shankman

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Bjoern Schwarz  / Flickr

The small Air Dolomiti Embraer aircraft takes off. Bjoern Schwarz / Flickr


Pilots at Deutsche Lufthansa AG’s Air Dolomiti regional subsidiary in Italy plan to strike on May 29, adding to a growing number of disruptions that have held back the German carrier’s traffic growth this year.

Air Dolomiti, which operates flights from Munich, Frankfurt and Moscow mostly to cities in northern Italy, faces a walkout of pilots belonging to the Ugl Trasporti union from noon to 4 p.m. on May 29 for flights departing from Italy. The union said it staged the protest after four pilots were dismissed for voicing concern about the future of the airline.

The strike would bring to 18 days so far this year where Lufthansa had to cancel at least 20 flights due to labor unrest, the same as in all of 2012. Most of the disruption was created by third-party conflicts involving airport or security staff.

Stefan Lauer, the Lufthansa executive in charge of personnel, called the rise in protests an “increasingly unbearable situation” in an employee-magazine interview last month, saying the company was the victim of more unrest than other companies in Germany.

The strikes represent a setback for Chief Executive Officer Christoph Franz’s plans to lift operating profit to a record 2.3 billion euros ($3 billion) by 2015, a plan that involves cutting 1,500 jobs and closing the company’s Cologne headquarters. Strikes by cabin crews on three days in August and September last year cost the company 33 million euros.

Security guards at airports including Hamburg, Dusseldorf and Cologne have also suspended work this year, leading to hundreds of cancellations. Those protests were followed by a full-day warning strike during wage negotiations for ground staff that all but suspended Lufthansa’s operations on April 22.

Editors: Benedikt Kammel and Tom Lavell. With assistance from Tommaso Ebhardt in Milan. Editor: Benedikt Kammel

To contact the reporter on this story: Richard Weiss in Frankfurt at rweiss5@bloomberg.net. To contact the editor responsible for this story: Benedikt Kammel at bkammel@bloomberg.net.

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