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Cargolux could face “considerable delays” after the LGCB union called on pilots to work to rule from midnight last Friday. But the carrier has fought back, saying it “cannot accept threats” from its union.

The LCGB, the smaller of two active unions at the carrier, is fighting a recent decision by the management to put an additional aircraft into Cargolux Italia, which, the union claims, operates routes into and out of Luxembourg previously operated by Cargolux. In a statement, the union said the move showed “that Cargolux management is going down a path of outsourcing and social dumping”.

Adding that the union’s focus was to secure jobs in Luxembourg, it urged pilots to withdraw their flexibility.

“In the past, Cargolux pilots volunteered to fly during their off days or extended their duties beyond the times foreseen in the Collective Work Agreement (CWA) on a regular basis,” it said.

“Over the years, this has allowed the company to react to market demands in a way no other airfreight carrier could have during challenging times of high demand. The willingness to be flexible has allowed Cargolux to operate with fewer crews than would otherwise have been necessary to keep the planes flying. This retrieval of ‘good will’ could likely create network disruptions resulting in considerable delays.”

A spokesman added: “This is not to hurt the company, just to show them exactly what is in the contract.”

The union claims that management refused to sign an MoU  outlining a basic commitment to jobs in Luxembourg, and that the work-to-rule would continue until a new CWA, or the MoU, is signed.

However, OGBL, the larger union, made an effort to distance itself from the action, noting that such a move should not be taken without first talking to management, and that a meeting is planned for tomorrow. Claiming the work-to-rule was “precipitated”, it added: “This action does not correspond to the Luxembourg social model.

“The OGBL, whilst holding the majority within the staff delegation, was confronted with a fait accompli. This action does not correspond to the conclusions drawn at the joint union preparation meeting for the renewal of the collective agreement, at which it had commonly been decided, to work together and wait until the first round of negotiations, with management, before deciding on the steps to be taken.”

Cargolux confirmed that it is meeting with both unions tomorrow to discuss a new CWA, and said it would make a proposal on job security.  It said in a statement: “Fully sharing the interest in job security at the company, Cargolux however cannot accept threats recently published by LCGB. Cargolux reconfirms its commitment to fair and transparent CWA negotiations with both unions representing Cargolux employees.”

The work-to-rule has begun, but the impact on the carrier is not yet clear. OGBL, which has a majority on the workers’ council, told The Loadstar that many pilots have distanced themselves from the action. But according to LCGB, all of the 460 pilots are currently working-to-rule and some flights have been delayed.

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