actually I wanted not to comment on any LH
Cabin Crew Strike threads any more, as I did not want to get it spinning out of control once again... BUT after reading through this thread and the many different posts I can't help but giving you my point of view. A perspective from someone who is really involved! A Flight Attendant that went on strike!
As I do not want this to be turning into another name calling, user bashing thread - which needs to be locked - I will try to do so without quoting any other user. Instead I will only pick up certain comments or point of views some user on here and some other people out there in the public (luckily not the majority) have on this issue and the issue of a strike in general!
I will be very honest with you even to the point of giving you an insight into how much money I usually make.
First of all I'd like to say this: WE
LOVE BEING FLIGHT ATTENDANTS and most of us LOVE working for LUFTHANSA. It was our decision to apply with this airline and to choose it over another! That's why we've come here in the first place! It's not only a job! It's a lifestyle. The glamour is still there - not as much as it used to be, but it ertainly isn't completely gone. The majority of us also loves working with people, taking care of people, providing good service at a quality airline which certainly has it's problems and isn't 100% top notch in every single aspect but can be seen as one of the better carriers out there. Also WE ALL
realize that our salaries come from our customers, who we enjoy serving and making sure they'll get SAFELY, COMFORTABLY and QUICKLY to where they need to go. This is why we don't just pack up and leave as suggested by some users here. We've put in too much work, time and effort to keep this airline running and successful. We are a big part of why this airline has been so successful and we identify ourselves with this airline. WE
DON'T HATE IT HERE, so why should WE
leave? Why not possibly somebody else that obviously hasn't quite the same level of love for and bond with this airline and is therefore a lot more exchangeable? Those among the FA
's who do hate it, trust me usually they do leave at some point! Nobody sticks around for ever when he hates his job!
We love this airline and we love our jobs and we've NEVER done and never wanted to do anything that'll hurt this company. BUT we've finally come to a point - after years and years of concessions, pay cuts, compromises, management changes, management failures and mistakes at which we realized ENOUGH is ENOUGH! We can't give no more and if we don't stand up right here and right now it'll endanger not only our jobs but the future of this airline and its stellar reputation in general!
Keep in mind that this was really the FIRST TIME EVER that LH FA
's went on strike. Compare this to other legacy carriers around the world and you will see that we are certainly not the greedy, irresponsible bunch of brainless people that some accused us of! We do know that times change and we do realize that it's a tough market out there for airlines. But it just can't be that management is burning millions with wrong decisions, therefore hurting our reputation and then being let off the hook while the burden of lagging behind revenue and underachieved profits is on the back of the employees ALONE! This is not right!!!
We have taken so many cuts over the years. Only to name a few:
Billing of our overtime is gone! Did we complain about it? Yes of course! But did we go on strike or take it out on our customes? NO!
Our holiday pay (christmas allowance AND
vacation allowance) is gone! Did we complain? Yes we did - only among ourselves - but we still kept silent and accepted it! After all we were told that we desperately have to save money (this was during a time when LH
actually was called the Airline Powerhouse of Europe and was making profit after profit after profit ensuring huge bonusses to the management).
Our vacation was reduced from 42 to 40 days! Now one might say 42 days of vacation this is pure luxury! Well it sounds like a lot, but please keep in mind that this is based on a 7 day week. So if I want 3 weeks of vacation I have to take 21 days! Not 15 as it is with most people who only have a 5 day week! So with the 2 days being taken away from us we come close to the legal amount of minimum vacation by German law (which I agree still is a lot compared to other countries, but LH
is a German airline, based in Germany)! Did we complain? Yes we did, we complained and we were frustrated about it but we knew this airline operates in a tough market and we have to make concessions and contribute our part in keeping this airline profitable!
We've waived pay raises for 3 (in letters THREE) years in a row! It hurt some of us very hard! Think about the inflation! Let alone how much the price for gas went rocket high! Many of us have to drive a few miles to the airport! Did we complain about it or go on strike??? Again NO!!! The 3,5% which LH
offered (over a time frame of 3 years that is!!! Which is a point that most people were actually missing during the current events) does not even cover the inflation!
Our pay scale was frozen for a year! None of us climbed to the next level! We kept silent! After all we knew this airline needed to save money!
All the while our management was busy buying and investing into bankrupt carriers all over Europe! Burning millions of our hard earned money! Some airlines - such as Swiss - turned out to be a success, others not so much! But are we as LH FA
's responsible for these carriers?
Then in 2011, we were not given a profit sharing! Can you imagine how mistreated we felt? Coming back from a flight from Narita after the earthquake, tsunami and Fukushima? Flying out hundreds of scared people, taking good care o them! Giving EVERYTHING only to check you mailbox and finding a letter telling us: Sorry No profit sharing for you guys... I was angry! So angry and so sad that I actually cried right there at my drop file!!!
Can you see how it all piles up???
Now what do we have to put up with on a daily basis!
When flying shorthaul one usually has a 12 hour day! 12 hours of almost constant work, lots of ups and downs, full flights with minimum cabin crew and almost no time for a real break! It certainly is not like it used to be. Sometimes we don't even have time to drink a cup of coffe during the turnaround! The turnaround times are too short! We do not complain about it as we know that we compete with low-cost carriers that manage even shorter turnaround times! So we get our act together and we keep smiling and welcome the next passengers who will then complain about the lack of overhead luggage space and missing closets/wardrobes in Business ever since we changed to higher density seating.
We smile, try to stow as many bags as possible and put our passengers at ease when we do have to unload their bags because we simply can't handle no more! We do this up to 5 times a day and up to 5 days in a row! It can be tiring and it can be frustrating but it can also be very rewarding - especially when we realize and are being told by our customers that we do a great job and that we actually do it better than Ryanair! Because we are still a full service airline. Passengers don't have to pay for checking their bags - even at the last minute on the plane - we serve them drinks and snacks and even hot meals at no extra charge and we can offer them services Ryanair can't! And it gives you the feeling that you were a productive part of this company and that we can actually take it on with them! It's our job! It's what being a flight attendant requires! And we happily sip on our cappucinos in Rome or enjoy french fries in Brussels and realize on our 9 hour layover: there is still a little glamour, even flying shorthaul! We don't complain!
Long haul of course is more rewarding! Longer layovers with the opportunity to really explore the world! The glamour is certainly still there. But it has also changed and became more challenging both for LH
and for us a FA
's. Yes we are ashamed when - in September of 2012! - we have to greet you on an old 747 without in-seat video in Economy, no full flat beds in Business and tiny monitors in First. Yes we are sorry when we run out of your meal choice and we are certainly embarrased when we don't have enough hot meals in Economy and have to tell you that you have to wait in order to get a Business Class leftover!
YES it all bothers us, especially because we know that we are in direct competition with world class airlines a la Emirates etc. who make it tough on us. And guess what: we've been telling them for years that LH
should invest in their on board product! Cater enough meals, install in-seat video, be more innovative with new seats - after all when you wait for what the competition is coming out with, you should be able to surpass them!!! Our voices were NOT heard! Often times we were blandly told: Our airplanes are still full, so why should we invest? It's not neccesary! Our strenght lies somewhere else! German efficiency and quality were the catchwords! Now this arrogance pays back. Now they realize it! Asking us for even more concessions! Is that right???
If it was for us our product would be top-notch! The money was there. We made the money! Instead of investing it into bankrupt airlines they should have invested it in our own airline, using it to be innovative and creative!!! To be able to stay competitive! And fight back those highly subsidized gulf carriers.
We do our jobs right, and we ask our management to do theirs right! After all they make a hell lot of money! So it's THEIR responsibility to ensure that this company stays profitable. And it certainly can't be that we as employees have to pay for EVERTHING they are not doing right!
Now instead of taking advantage of a highly motivated workforce that was willing to give so much, to work a whole lot more for less money, who was still happy and very proud to be there, they keep using and absuing us, finally threatening us with taking away the last thing that LH
really has to offer: JOB SECURITY!
It is not true that LH
pays the best wages in the industry! It all must be put into perspective! Our salaries are okay, even after all the cuts, they are still okay! But that's it! OKAY - Neither more nor less. And as much as they keep comparing us to other carriers around the world, this is still a company that is based in Germany, with the majority of it's FA
's based in Germany who all have to make ends meet HERE in Germany or Europe, or if living somewhere else have to commute here. And it must be possible for workers HERE in Europe to work for a company HERE and make a living HERE. If that's not possible - regardless of how strong the competition is - then we all need to pack up and leave. Because the jobs can be outsorced to chaep foreign labor, but the cost of living can not!
Let me tell you what I made this August. I am on salary level 7. Even though I have 14 years with the LH
company group. When I came from another airline within the LH
company group (which had a different FA
contract) I kept my date of employment and company seniority, but was stapled to the bottom of the LH
mainline seniority list and pay scale. I did not object this and accepted it, so don't get me wrong, I'm not complaining. I flew three 3 day trips to IAD
, one 3 day trip to JFK
and a 4 day trip to DEN
. I also had a day of recurrent Emergency training (worth 3,5 hrs) so this made up for a total of 81 hours (as one return leg was in September) flight hours that is - basically only the time from when the aircraft pushes back from the gate until it arrives at the gate, briefing, boarding etc. not included - and I made roughly EUR 1850,- after taxes! Plus per diem which was roughly EUR 500,- So this is nowhere near the 40.000 Euros that some people suggested we make after 5 years with the company. Okay I'll be very honest and admit it could be slightly more as I'm only making about 91% of what I could be making in level 7 as I have a complete month of unpaid leave or part-time as we call it. Now you tell me if you really think this is GREAT money! I don't think it's great. I think it's still okay, but certainly not great.
We've certainly come to a point where we can't give more. A Ryanair FA
can make a much better pay check than most junior LH FA
's can. Again this is because you have to put things into perspective. Ryanair does not have senior FA
's who want to make this a life long career. I highly doubt that FA
's who want this to be a carrer apply with a low cost airline. They go to a low cost airline because they wanna make quick money - and yes they do make good money actually because they are flying high hours - having a little fun all along the way and then leave after a few years and take a totally different career path OR
in many cases, because they love being FA
's applying with a legacy carrier. So they know what to expect when applying with a low cost carrier.
When we applied with LH
we also knew what we wanted and what to expect, and this was the reason we applied with them and not somebody else. But what was once a given factor at LH
and the reason we came here is slowly dwindling away. And this is a development that has to be stopped at all cost! But not only in the interest of our jobs but also in the interest of LH
. We don't want this to become another low cost carrier. We want this to remain a full service, legacy carrier. But if you want the be a full service premium carrier you have to offer your workforce a little more than what a low cost carrier has to offer. Because a legacy carrier needs motivated employees that feel part of the company and give everything in the best interest of the company they feel part of. And that one thing is JOB SECURITY and a CAREER with a perspective. So management should stop comparing us to Ryanair, because they simply don't wanna become another Ryanair either. They want quality, which they can only get if they treat us fairly!
ARE LUFTHANSA. We are the company, we are the heart and the soul of this airline and if they destroy that by outsourcing to cheap labor that is actually not even employed with the company it'll die from within!!!
We certainly want this airline to stay competitive and successful! But WITH US not AGAINST US!
And this is why we finally stood up. After all we've done and given to the company, after all the concessions and pay cuts we've taken they threaten us with cheap outsourced labor! Now you decide for yourself if you belive that this strike was disproportional and unjustified! I leave it up to all of you what you think about it. If you wanna blame us for it or not!
Is it really so bad that we are trying to protect what we have? Our future, our job security, our company? Is it really unjustified!
I wanna end this with saying: It is a given right, a fundamental right to protect what you have, to protect your standard of living, to protect your career, your job your future. It is a fundamental right to do that! And this strike was legal and justified, because oherwise it would have been called off and prohibited by the court! And now I actually do have to quote another user:
|Quoting cmf (Reply 44):|
As an employer, and I have spent much time in that position, I prefer employees who fight for their job. The last thing I want is people who will jump as soon as something isn't to their liking.
|Quoting cmf (Reply 44):|
If the free market can't handle employees exercising their rights, how free is it?
cmf THANK YOU so much for that!!!
Now do you all believe it was an easy decision for us? That we had fun going on strike? It mostly destroyed our well planned September schedules. I personally was not able to see a friend I haven't seen in a long time and wanted to meet on a US layover. Friends of mine had to rebook their nonstop MCO
flight to a much longer connection through IAH
on United... and so on... most of us were personally affected by the strike... so it wasn't easy and it wasn't fun! But ist was neccessary! And it was worth it! I am very happy that I can go back into the skies on sunday and I am very happy that the union and LH
management are finally back in talks an negotiations! But I am also very proud at what we've accomplished and that we finally stood up and made our voices and concerns be heard! And I think it's great that we can soon greet and welcome our new colleagues in Berlin that will be offered a REAL Lufthansa contract to the Lufthansa family!!! That's something we've achieved and can be very proud of!
Now you all think what you wanna think. I hope I was able to bring across my point of view, how I and probably the majority of us FA
's feel and make you think it all over.
A very proud and happy Lufthansa Flight Attendant
L1011Lover[Edited 2012-09-08 07:27:27][Edited 2012-09-08 07:32:53][Edited 2012-09-08 07:45:27][Edited 2012-09-08 07:47:20]
[Edited 2012-09-08 08:00:18]