Unionized pilots with Lufthansa-owned low-fare carrier Germanwings staged a six-hour strike on Friday after negotiations between the airline and pilots over early retirement benefits broke down. The Vereinigung Cockpit union representing pilots with Lufthansa, Lufthansa Cargo and Germanwings said it would continue planning industrial actions “until the point of agreement.”
French air traffic controllers called off their work stoppages three days early on June 25 just as Belgian controllers launched a series of two-hour strikes that ran through June 26. The Association of European Airlines said in a statement, “The reason for this social unrest is linked to the self-interest of the unions, which refuse to accept much needed efficiency improvements to their working practices.” Nearly 400 flights in Europe were affected by the strikes on Wednesday alone.
The two largest French air traffic controller unions–SNCTA and UNSA-INCA–voted Friday to hold a six-day strike beginning June 24 and running through June 29. The controllers are protesting budget cuts designed to reduce air navigation costs by reorganizing airspace into functional blocks. The strike is expected to affect nearly 50 percent of all French air traffic.
Some of the strikes by air traffic controllers in Europe originally scheduled for this week have been postponed, according to Eurocontrol. The Air Traffic Controllers European Unions Coordination union consortium organized the strikes to protest a number of Single European Sky proposals to alter current ATC safety and financial goals.
The trade unions association that planned and then called off a Europe-wide ATC strike last October has scheduled a new job action on January 29 to express its displeasure with proposed amendments to Single European Sky (SES) legislation. The new strike planned by the Air Traffic Controllers European Unions Coordination (ATCEUC) will dovetail with another job action the European Transport Workers Federation (ETF) plans the following day.
The Air Traffic Controllers European Unions Coordination (ATCEUC), representing some 14,000 controllers in the region, said it has called off a planned October 10 strike over safety issues tied to the Single European Sky program. The group said it had received assurances that the European Union is willing to discuss those safety issues before implementation.
Bombardier Learjet workers in Wichita represented by the International Association of Machinists and Aerospace Workers (IAMAW) went on strike early yesterday morning, following a vote on Saturday to reject a proposed labor agreement. Members of IAM Local 639 overwhelmingly rejected Bombardier’s proposal, with 79 percent opposed to the five-year offer. An equal number of union members authorized a strike, setting the stage for the walkout yesterday.
The strike by ramp workers at Frankfurt Airport, which began last week, continues to deteriorate and could soon become a complete work stoppage at Europe’s third-busiest hub. The GdF union representing ground workers, has asked its members in the control tower to walk out Wednesday morning in sympathy with the 200 union members already walking a picket line.
Cessna Aircraft made a new contract proposal on Monday that was immediately rejected by machinist union leadership, with the recommendation that its members follow suit in a vote set for Saturday.
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