Several airline pilot unions have requested the European Commission (EC) to accept Lufthansa’s state aid deal with no strings attached, a publicly released letter indicated.
The unions, including the trade union Vida, which was at the forefront of a conflict with Ryanair Group regarding Lauda bases in Vienna, stated that tens of thousands of jobs will be lost if the EC does not allow the Lufthansa deal to go through with no strings attached.
“Neither the employees of the Lufthansa Group, nor the citizens of Europe will understand if tens of thousands of jobs are lost not because of COVID-19, but because of conditions imposed by the EU Commission,” stated the letter, addressed to the President and Executive Vice President of the legislative body.
The European lawmakers indicated that if Lufthansa wants to receive the approval for the $9.8 billion (€9 billion) state aid package, it would have to give up slots in Frankfurt Airport (FRA) and Munich Airport (MUC), the airline’s two main hubs. Furthermore, it would have to base fewer aircraft in Germany.
Lufthansa rejected the Commission’s decision, citing that it would face serious “economic consequences.” Nevertheless, the board of the airline indicated that the stabilization measures were “the only viable alternative for maintaining solvency.”
The pilot unions shared their concerns that low-cost carriers have large financial reserves because they “disregard” their employees and “have passed on their business risk to the workforce.” The letter warned that if Lufthansa had to give up their slots to airlines in the low-cost segment, which would make the European Commission responsible for “even more intensive social dumping, increasing bogus self-employment and massive erosion of labor standards.”
“The Lufthansa Group, on the other hand, accepts social responsibility for its workforce.”
Ryanair Group and its chief executive Michael O’Leary have been very vocal regarding Lufthansa’s state aid package. The Irish executive called the German airline group a “state aid addict,” as the first reflex of the company was to “put its hand in the German Government’s pocket.”