For more than two years, Discover operated without collective bargaining agreements for staff. The Cockpit and UFO unions now want to put an end to this with a strike. Is there a replacement flight schedule?
Pilots and flight attendants at the Lufthansa subsidiary Discover Airlines are on strike this Friday. A 24-hour strike is planned, according to a member circular from the Cockpit union (VC), which is available to the dpa. Late in the evening, the cabin union UFO announced that it was calling on its members to go on a warning strike at this time.
Discover Airlines criticized the decision and announced in the evening that it was “currently assuming that the strike would have far-reaching effects” on flight operations and for passengers. A replacement flight plan is being drawn up. The priority is to “get as many travelers as possible to their destination”.
The cockpit and cabin crew association wants collective agreements
In a ballot, almost 96 percent of VC members voted for industrial action. The VC wants to enforce the first collective agreements on salaries and general conditions at the holiday airline, which was founded two and a half years ago, and has declared negotiations with the company to have failed. There is currently no collective agreement for cabin crews either. The UFO union, which has not yet held a ballot, is negotiating there.
The head of UFO collective bargaining policy, Harry Jaeger, criticized Discover for behaving as a “hip start-up” whose employees accepted far below-average working conditions simply because of their great spirit. “The fact is, the Discover cabin does a fantastic job, but it can barely pay the rent,” said Jaeger. This has to end.
Discover Airlines: Union rejected offer today
Discover Airlines accused the VC of unilaterally declaring the negotiations to have failed at the beginning of the year. VC categorically rejected an offer today and called a strike in response. Regardless of these developments, the company will “immediately increase” the remuneration and working conditions of cockpit employees.
Until the first warning strike call shortly before Christmas, the Lufthansa subsidiary said they had been “in very good, advanced discussions with the VC and were on the home stretch towards concluding a collective agreement”. There had been partial agreements and a clear intention to “continue negotiations in January and to reach a conclusion quickly”. A solution can only be found at the negotiating table.
Discover Airlines plans replacement flight schedule
The airline Discover is creating a replacement flight plan for the day of the strike. There are around 30 flights planned during the strike period, as a spokeswoman for the Lufthansa subsidiary in Frankfurt reported. The aim is to get as many passengers as possible to their destination. 20 flights were originally supposed to take off from Frankfurt, and Discover was supposed to fly another ten in Munich on behalf of its mother.
The first warning strike went smoothly for passengers
A first warning strike by the pilots on the day before Christmas Eve went smoothly for most passengers. Discover was able to reschedule flights to times outside the five-hour strike window. However, if the strike is prolonged, flight cancellations could quickly occur.
After the surprising warning strike in December, Lufthansa demanded an additional agreement on how to deal with each other – a so-called social partner charter. This was promptly viewed by the VC as a restriction on freedom of collective bargaining.
The Lufthansa Group’s holiday airline was initially launched in the Corona summer of 2021 under the name “Eurowings Discover” and was later renamed “Discover Airlines”. The 24 aircraft so far are used at the hubs in Frankfurt and Munich on long and medium-haul routes. The Discover is intended to be cheaper than the Lufthansa core brand and to compete with other holiday airlines such as the Condor in the lucrative leisure market.