Lufthansa boss Carsten Spohr
Photo: SASCHA STEINBACH / EPA
Lufthansa is now also getting into trouble with its workforce as a result of the flight chaos of the past few weeks.
"We are gambling away our good reputation and low-cost service and reliability at premium prices will certainly not work in the long run," says a letter to the Lufthansa supervisory board, which is signed by the chairmen of the works councils and staff representatives from various parts of the company.
The letter said that disappointing customers on a daily basis and being unable to act while passengers were stranded and left to their own devices was unworthy of a service company.
Saving at any price has been seen as a panacea for securing the future for years.
The staff and the customer were completely out of sight.
“In the past, the allegedly far too expensive staff ironed out all the abuses caused by the money craze and concealed them from the customer,” says the letter, which SPIEGEL has seen.
Lousy telephone hotlines, reduced service
In addition to countless flight cancellations, Lufthansa has been annoying many customers for a long time.
Telephone hotlines are sometimes unavailable, service has been reduced in many areas.
Even the supposedly best customers are affected.
Frequent flyers with Senator status or HON Circle members such as First Class passengers also had to accept significant service problems.
In addition, Lufthansa closed numerous lounges.
The employee representatives see the relationship with the group's board of directors as strained, at least since the board of directors issued threats of termination.
The board of directors is pursuing a personnel policy that is based on playing off the employee groups against each other.
In the eyes of the employee representatives, the fact that programs for voluntary departure from the group were launched is now taking its revenge.
According to the signatories, a good 380 pilots alone accepted such an offer.
These were now missing to handle the lucrative summer business.
There is also a lack of employees in the cabin.
After two volunteer programs, there were no longer enough pursers to cover cases of illness - other flight attendants would have to step in.
Guided from the gate with police protection
Until February 2022, it was suggested that Lufthansa would have to be massively resized and made redundant because this was far too expensive.
According to the letter, a noticeable demand for bookings for the summer months was already evident at this point in time.
The tension of many colleagues is now also affecting the tone of internal dealings, the letter says.
And further: »At the airport, colleagues are led from the gate with police protection, a colleague was knocked down, monitors are ripped out and thrown at the colleagues.
The “too many” few staff are now supposed to work overtime to get a sickness rate of 20-30 percent under control.
But every day we see that this is not enough: More than a dozen ferry flights every day like yesterday from Olbia to Oslo, which are operated instead of two flights with guests, so that at least the plane is where it should be.«
The employee representatives also see the prospects as bleak.
The working conditions in many areas are such that there is a lack of applicants.
"A service company that is run against its own staff in this way has no future," the signatories sum up.