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Lufthansa inks pay deal with 30,000 ground staff

German carrier Lufthansa, reeling under a series of recent strikes, said on Saturday that it had reached a wage rise accord with services sector union Verdi covering 30,000 ground staff.

Lufthansa inks pay deal with 30,000 ground staff
Lufthansa has yet to strike a deal with the UFO flight attendant's union. Photo: Boris Roessler/dpa
The accord gives a one-off payment of 2,250 euros ($2,350) and a 2.2 percent wage rise to ground staff and employees of IT subsidiary Lufthansa Systems, Lufthansa Service catering, Lufthansa Technik maintenance and Lufthansa Cargo freight service, the airline and Verdi said.
   
The collective bargaining accord runs to the end of 2017. Ground staff at several key airports in Germany had answered a Verdi half-day strike call in late March, causing hours of delays.
 
Lufthansa then said in September it intended to reach an agreement ending the dispute by the end of November.
   
But the carrier is still facing a battle with pilot and cabin staff unions as well as with Verdi over disputes over pay and retirement benefits which have led to several strikes in recent months.
   
Seven days of industrial action earlier this month, the longest strike in the company's history, saw some 4,600 flights cancelled, affecting more than half a million passengers.
   
Lufthansa is looking to slash costs in the face of competition from low-cost rivals and Gulf airlines.
   
Lufthansa said earlier this month it plans to hold a “jobs summit” on December 2 with flight attendants' union UFO, the Cockpit pilots' union and Verdi to hash out key problems in the long-running dispute.
   
UFO responded by saying it would hold off on strikes until at least after the jobs summit.

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CHRISTMAS

Strikes hit Amazon in Germany in the run up to Christmas

Around 2,500 Amazon employees at seven sites across Germany were on strike on Tuesday and unions warned stoppages could continue up to Christmas.

Amazon parcel in factory
A parcel rolls along a conveyor belt at an Amazon packing facility in Gera, Thuringia. Photo: picture alliance/dpa/dpa-Zentralbild | Bodo Schackow

The strikes at so-called “fulfilment” centres, where Amazon prepares packages before delivery, began in two locations on Monday.

The Verdi union is calling on Amazon for an “immediate” salary increase of three percent this year, followed by a further 1.7 percent next year, in line with a collective agreement for the retail sector, to which the e-commerce giant does not adhere.

Amazon could not continue to “refuse wage increases that other companies in the sector pay”, Verdi retail head Orhan Akman said in a statement Monday.

Amazon, which operates 17 centres in Germany, argues it is a logistics company, a sector in which the terms of work are considered to be less burdensome for the employer.

Amazon said it did not expect the strike to have an impact on clients.

However, a Verdi spokesman said the stoppage could cause disruption, particularly in Amazon’s rapid-delivery “Prime” offering.

Strikes were likely to continue “until the end of the year”, the spokesman said, impacting on the busy Christmas shopping period.

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Verdi, which first called for strikes at Amazon in May 2013, organised demonstrations outside the fulfilment centres on Tuesday to protest poor working conditions.

Amazon — which has seen its business boom during the coronavirus pandemic as consumers increasingly shopped online — announced in September that it would open eight new centres in Germany, creating 3,000 jobs by 2022.

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