Airlines Workers Issues

Unions call four-day strike at Air France

By Kumaran Ira, 14 June 2018

The strike call comes amid rising anger in the workforce after workers voted to reject a concessions contract negotiation by the unions and Air France management.

Disregard for passenger safety exposed in wake of fatal Southwest Airlines engine explosion

By Alec Andersen, 21 April 2018

Southwest Airlines has pushed back against inspection directives even as mechanics have reportedly raised numerous safety concerns which have been dismissed by the airline.

The havoc at New York’s JFK Airport and the decay of US infrastructure

By Bill Van Auken, 9 January 2018

The chaos produced by a one-day snow storm has laid bare the disastrous state of social infrastructure in the capital of America’s financial oligarchy.

Protesting workers at bankrupt Air Berlin denounce Merkel government

By Gustav Kemper, 27 November 2017

More than a thousand employees of the insolvent airline gathered Wednesday in front of Berlin Central Station for a demonstration against imminent mass redundancies.

Teamsters Canada sells out Swissport ground crew strike at Toronto’s Pearson Airport

By Dylan Lubao, 13 November 2017

After 11 weeks of union-imposed isolation, 700 Swissport workers reluctantly ratified a sell-out contract.

Mixed fleet cabin crew continue strike against British Airways

By Ross Mitchell, 22 July 2017

Unite is seeking to divert the struggle of cabin crew into the dead end of legal appeals against BA’s actions and are insisting strikers put their faith in appeals to Members of Parliament.

SEIU cuts short three-day strike of New York airport workers

By Isaac Finn, 13 July 2017

Following a walkout on July 11 of roughly 700 workers at Newark Liberty International Airport, SEIU 32BJ ended a threatened three-day strike against PrimeFlight Inc., after the company agreed to negotiate.

Trump unveils plan to privatize air traffic control system

By Patrick Martin, 6 June 2017

The plan combines elements proposed by Republican and Democratic administrations over three decades, going back to the attack on the air traffic controllers union in 1981.

As anger grows against US carriers, Spirit Airlines scapegoats pilots

By Jerry White, 12 May 2017

In one of the latest widely publicized incidents, passengers erupted in rage at a Spirit Airlines ticket counter in Florida after flight cancellations and delays.

Verdi union shuts down Berlin airport workers strike

By Gustav Kemper and Marianne Arens, 17 March 2017

The union stopped a strike by ground crew at the Berlin airports, despite the employer’s refusal to submit a new offer.

UK: Unite union imposes isolation of Heathrow cabin crew strike

By Ross Mitchell and Robert Stevens, 11 March 2017

Unite has done nothing to mobilise the support of other cabin crew in defence of the Heathrow crew, either at that airport or at any other in the UK.

Lufthansa-union agreement on arbitration ruling: an attack on pilots in Germany

By Dietmar Henning, 18 February 2017

Lufthansa and the pilots union have accepted an arbitration ruling on compensation for 5,400 pilots, and the airline linked the agreement with a new declaration of war on workers.

Striking British Airways cabin crew explain appalling work contract

By Ross Mitchell, 24 January 2017

The WSWS spoke to striking British Airways cabin crew at their picket at Hatton Cross Metro station last week during a 72-hour strike.

Striking Lufthansa pilots demonstrate in Frankfurt

By Marianne Arens, 2 December 2016

Hundreds of striking Lufthansa pilots gathered at Rhein-Main Airport in Frankfurt on day seven of the latest pilots’ strike.

Lufthansa makes new offer to striking pilots

By Dietmar Henning, 28 November 2016

The offer made by the Lufthansa board on Friday evening is aimed at breaking the resistance of the pilots’ union and pushing through fundamental changes in working conditions.

Germany: UFO union calls off strikes and begs for hearing with Lufthansa bosses

By Dietmar Henning, 2 November 2016

The Independent Flight Attendants Organisation has cancelled strikes planned for this week at Eurowings, declaring it is “speechless” at the company's tough stance.

Unions at Germany’s TUIfly airlines act as strikebreakers

By Ulrich Rippert, 14 October 2016

The workers at TUIfly are putting up fierce opposition to a restructuring plan accompanied by extensive job and wage cuts.

Lufthansa sets a course for confrontation with pilots

By Marianne Arens, 16 August 2016

The breaking off of talks between the pilots’ union and management heralds a new phase in the dispute.

German Labour Court declares air traffic controllers strike illegal

By Marianne Arens, 2 August 2016

The federal Labour Court in Erfurt ordered the aircraft controllers union GdF to pay airport operator Fraport millions in damages following the 2012 strike.

Lack of job protection for European pilots turns dream job into nightmare

By Marianne Arens, 26 July 2016

A growing number of pilots in Europe are compelled to accept short-term contracts, sham self-employment and insecure employment relations.

Lufthansa flight attendants union accepts arbitration agreement

By Marianne Arens, 6 July 2016

By agreeing to the arbitration award, the union is stabbing cabin staff and pilots in the back in their struggle to defend jobs, wages and pensions.

Delta Airlines pilots hold protest over stalled contract talks

By Shannon Jones, 25 June 2016

With the airline recording massive profits, pilots are seeking to recoup concessions including average pay cuts of over 40 percent.

Air France announces pay cuts for pilots

By Anthony Torres, 14 May 2016

The cuts at the airline are the product of the betrayal of the 2014 pilots strike by the National Union of Airline Pilots.

Belgian air traffic controllers launch wildcat strike at Brussels airport

By Robert Stevens, 14 April 2016

The working class throughout Belgium and Europe must come to the defense of the striking air traffic controllers, who have taken a courageous stand against attacks on retirement.

Australia: Qantas reaps record profits by slashing jobs and wages

By Terry Cook, 5 March 2016

Deep cuts have been imposed on the airline’s workers through a combination of intimidation and the collaboration of the trade unions.

Pakistan steps up privatization drive after unions suppress airline strike

By Sampath Perera, 20 February 2016

Nawaz Sharif’s government has seized on the unions’ betrayal of the PIA anti-privatization strike to victimize hundreds of the most militant workers.

Mechanics at United Continental reject sellout contract

By Shannon Jones, 18 February 2016

By a 93 percent margin workers rejected a contract proposal that would have created a two-tier system with drastically lower pay and benefits for new hires.

2016 will be a year of escalating class struggle

By Jerry White, 4 January 2016

Class conflict will become an ever-more dominant feature of life in 2016 as the ruling classes in the US and around the world demand that workers pay for the global economic crisis.

Lufthansa flight attendants threaten strike

By Dietmar Henning, 6 November 2015

The flight attendant union UFO announced a strike starting on Friday.

German pilots struggle: The right to strike requires a socialist perspective

By Ulrich Rippert, 11 September 2015

The decision of the labor court in the German state of Hessian to forbid Lufthansa pilots from striking is an attack on the right to strike directed against all workers.

Corruption and bankruptcy at the new Berlin Brandenburg Airport

By Gustav Kemper, 17 August 2015

Public prosecutors are investigating construction company Imtech on suspicion of embezzlement, bribery, price-fixing and false accounting.

German pilots’ union capitulates to Lufthansa

By Dietmar Henning, 31 July 2015

The cockpit union has sold out the pilots, giving the company even more than it was demanding, including raising the retirement age and cutting costs.

New York City airport workers’ job action called off by union

By Alan Whyte, 24 July 2015

A planned strike of 1,200 poorly paid New York City airport workers was called off after a deal was reached with the SEIU to achieve “labor peace.”

Behind the airline workers strike at Alitalia

By Mariane Arens, 8 April 2015

While the airlines continue to attack employees’ wages and working conditions, the unions pursue a purely nationalist strategy directed against their own members.

Injured Boeing contract worker dies in Washington state

By Angelo Bosworth and Hector Cordon, 11 December 2014

Ken Otto died Sunday due to injuries suffered while working on a Boeing jet in November

Lufthansa pilots in Germany walk out again

By Dietmar Henning, 4 December 2014

Pilots and other workers are fighting company plans to expand operations of its low-cost subsidiaries and slash jobs and wages.

After flight attendants reject contract, American Airlines makes offer to pilots

By Shannon Jones, 14 November 2014

Initial reports indicate pilots are overwhelmingly opposed to the proposal, which removes profit-sharing.

American Airlines flight attendants reject contract

By Shannon Jones, 11 November 2014

The rejection of the union-recommended deal comes after more than a decade in which airline workers have suffered one round of wage, benefit and pension cuts after another.

Germany: Lufthansa pilots take renewed strike action

By Stefan Steinberg, 21 October 2014

While the immediate issue in the pilots’ dispute is cuts in early retirement provision, the background is the major changes in the air industry that affect not only pilots but all airline workers in Europe and across the globe.

One-day strike by Lufthansa pilots in Germany

By Helmut Arens, 2 October 2014

The Lufthansa pilots’ strike was directed against the attempt by the corporation to carry through attacks on retirement benefits for 5,400 pilots.

Pilots union pushes for sell-out of Air France pilots strike

By Alex Lantier and Stéphane Hugues, 29 September 2014

The unions and the Socialist Party government are desperately pushing pilots to accept a deal that would pave the way to deep cuts in wages and conditions.

Lufthansa insists on pension cuts for pilots

By Dietmar Henning, 26 September 2014

At talks Monday there was no indication of a deal as Lufthansa refuses to budge from its original plans to cut pilots’ retirement provisions.

Air France pilots’ strike hardens despite government climbdown

By Antoine Lerougetel, 26 September 2014

The government’s decision, faced with the pilots’ strike, to force Air France to abandon plans for a new low-cost subsidiary signals a major political crisis in France.

Air France pilots strike against low wages

By Antoine Lerougetel, 20 September 2014

Seventy-five percent of Air France pilots have been on strike since Monday.

German train drivers union to hold warning strike Tuesday

By Dietmar Henning, 8 September 2014

The German Trade Union Federation (DGB) and the government have announced measures to prevent strikes by pilots, train drivers and many other workers.

German media seeks to whip up public opinion against pilots and train drivers

By Marianne Arens, 1 September 2014

The goal of German airline and rail unions, including smaller unions like Cockpit, is to maximise the profits of Lufthansa and German Railways at the expense of the workforce.

Search for missing Malaysia Airlines plane enters third week

By Tom Peters, 22 March 2014

Strategic rivalries and state secrecy continue to mar the search for MH370.

Australian unions assist Qantas airways to sack workers

By Will Morrow, 15 March 2014

The Australian Council of Trade Unions immediately hailed the ASU agreement as a template for implementing all 5,000 Qantas job cuts.

Malaysian Airlines Flight 370 may have veered off course

By Peter Symonds, 15 March 2014

Search operations are now focussed on areas of the Indian Ocean, hundreds of kilometres to the west of MH370’s last known position.

The assault on Qantas workers and the global airline crisis

By Patrick O’Connor, 7 March 2014

The only way that Qantas workers can defend their jobs and conditions is through a unified struggle with airline workers internationally against the global airline conglomerates.

Australian trade unions move to enforce Qantas layoffs, wage cuts

By Patrick O’Connor, 1 March 2014

The unions have no problem with making workers bear the cost of the Qantas crisis, but want to maintain their privileged position within the airline industry.

Australia: Qantas Airways to cut 5,000 jobs and impose wage freeze

By James Cogan, 27 February 2014

The job destruction flows directly from the cut-throat competition for market share and profits among rival transnational airline alliances since the 2008 global financial crisis.

Australian airline Qantas reduced to “junk” status

By Patrick O’Connor, 10 January 2014

Moody’s announcement comes as even more job cuts at the airline are threatened.

Machinists’ union rams through sellout deal at Boeing

By Shannon Jones, 4 January 2014

The International Association of Machinists (IAM) forced a new vote on essentially the same deal workers rejected by a two-to-one margin in November.

Reject IAM-Boeing blackmail!

Form a rank-and-file committee to defeat concessions

By the Socialist Equality Party, 3 January 2014

The following SEP statement is being destributed to Boeing workers in the states of Washington and Oregon who are voting today on a contract extension.

New offensive being prepared against Boeing machinists

By Hector Cordon, 5 December 2013

In the wake of Boeing’s failed attempt to wrest deep concessions from its workers, the unions are ramping up a campaign to convince the manufacturer to keep production of its new airplane in Washington State.

Boeing workers decisively reject sellout contract

By Shannon Jones, 15 November 2013

Boeing workers in the Pacific Northwest voted 67 to 33 percent against a concession-laden 8-year contract extension.

Air France to lay off 2,800 workers

By Pierre Mabut, 8 October 2013

On September 18, Air France-KLM announced the elimination of a 2,800 jobs as part of its “Transform 2015” restructuring plan.

Investigation of San Francisco plane crash underway

By Gabriel Black and James Brewer, 11 July 2013

The National Transportation Safety Board has begun releasing details of its investigation into the crash landing of a South Korean airliner at San Francisco International Airport.

Two dead, 181 injured in San Francisco plane crash

By Gabriel Black, 8 July 2013

On Saturday, Asiana Airlines flight 214 crash landed at San Francisco International Airport.

One-day Lufthansa strike grounds flights in Germany

By Ernst Wolff, 24 April 2013

A strike by Lufthansa ground crew on Monday led to the cancellation of flights at airports across Germany.

Qantas Australia sacks another 500 maintenance engineers

By Patrick O’Connor, 9 November 2012

With the support of the federal Labor government, and the collaboration of the trade unions, Qantas is imposing layoffs on a near-monthly basis.

Lufthansa pushes ahead with job cuts

By Ernst Wolff, 30 October 2012

Lufthansa management has announced details of its plan to outsource and cut jobs.

Federal judge bans strike by Seattle airport refueling workers

By Hector Cordon, 24 October 2012

A federal injunction has blocked a strike by workers who fuel 75 percent of the planes at Seattle-Tacoma International Airport.

India’s Kingfisher Airlines workers demand unpaid salaries

By Sathish Simon and Kranti Kumara, 19 October 2012

Several hundred employees at privately-owned Kingfisher Airlines in India have engaged in strikes and other job actions over the past month to demand back wages owed to them since March.

Boeing professional workers overwhelmingly reject proposed contract

By Angelo Bosworth, 11 October 2012

Boeing engineers and technicians vote overwhelmingly against the company’s proposals.

Pilots union pushes through restructuring plan at Air France

By Francis Dubois, 24 August 2012

The National Airline Pilots Union has pushed through an agreement supporting management’s objectives at Air France.

Lufthansa flight attendants vote to strike

By Ernst Wolff, 14 August 2012

After a year of wrangling over a new pay agreement, a vast majority of Lufthansa flight attendants voted in favour of strike action.

Air France announces 5,000 job cuts

By Antoine Lerougetel, 28 June 2012

Air France-KLM will cut its workforce by 10 percent the end of 2013

Air Canada pushes Aveos into bankruptcy, eliminating 2,600 jobs

By Laurent Lafrance, 12 May 2012

Having mounted only a token campaign against the closure of the airplane maintenance company Aveos, the machinists’ union is working alongside the Quebec Liberal government to find a buyer to relaunch the company at its members’ expense.

Thousands of jobs at risk at Lufthansa

By Elizabeth Zimmermann, 2 May 2012

The Lufthansa Executive Board announced a new savings program to cut at least €1.5 billion by 2014.

Australian workers locked out by pharmaceutical company

By Peter Byrne, 14 March 2012

The Sigma dispute has become a test case for the elimination of penalty rates and other workplace conditions won through previous struggles.

German labour court bans Frankfurt airport strike

By Helmut Arens, 2 March 2012

Only hours after a Frankfurt labour court banned a scheduled solidarity strike by air traffic controllers at the city’s airport, the same court also proscribed the ongoing strike by ground crew.

Australia: Qantas engineering union imposes sell-out deal

By Terry Cook, 5 January 2012

Having shut down all industrial action, the union has reached an agreement that meets all of the central demands of Qantas management.

Australia: Qantas imposes arbitration to enforce restructuring

By Terry Cook, 23 November 2011

By sending the dispute into arbitration, the airline has obtained precisely what it wanted when it took the unprecedented step of grounding its entire fleet.

Australian airline unions seek deal with Qantas

By Terry Cook and Mike Head, 16 November 2011

Behind closed doors, the unions are working closely with the company to finalise enterprise bargaining agreements that will facilitate the wholesale destruction of jobs and conditions.

A global political strategy for Qantas workers

By James Cogan, 5 November 2011

In every part of the world, jobs, wages and conditions are being slashed as rival carriers cut costs and fight to maintain profitability amid an escalating global economic crisis.

Australian corporate elite hails Qantas assault

By Mike Head, 1 November 2011

The financial markets regard Qantas’s actions as a test case for the type of assault that must be implemented throughout all industries.

Qantas Airways grounds fleet to impose far-reaching restructuring

By James Cogan, 31 October 2011

Qantas is operating with a thoroughly worked-out global strategy that enjoys the full backing of the financial and corporate establishment, the Labor government and the courts.

Who owns Qantas?

By James Cogan, 31 October 2011

The executives serve as the direct representatives of finance and carry out their dictates.

Australian Labor government threatens Qantas airline workers

By Terry Cook and James Cogan, 17 October 2011

Openly backed by the Gillard government, Qantas management is preparing for the wholesale elimination of much of the Qantas-badged operations.

Union scuppers Air Canada strike, in response to fresh Tory attack

By Carl Bronski, 14 October 2011

The Canadian Union of Public Employees rescinded strike authorization for 6,800 Air Canada flight attendants, just hours after the Conservative government had their impending job action declared illegal.

Australia: Qantas uses Labor’s laws to lock out thousands of workers

By Terry Cook, 21 September 2011

Having had ample notice of a four-hour stoppage by ground crew, Qantas imposed a lockout and swung a strike-breaking plan into action, using management personnel.

Qantas to destroy 1,000 jobs as part of shift to Asia

By Patrick O’Connor, 17 August 2011

The measures amount to a declaration of war against Qantas workers, with the company’s directors working closely with the Labor government and the trade unions to suppress all opposition.

Qantas management threatens “ruthless” restructure

By Terry Cook, 1 August 2011

Qantas CEO Alan Joyce has foreshadowed major attacks on jobs and conditions by the Australian airline.

Australian airline foreshadows major restructuring and shift to Asia

By Terry Cook, 2 July 2011

The fact that the speech was delivered to the national press club indicates that Qantas anticipates the backing of the Labor government in any confrontation with its workforce.

Irish unions work to sell out pilots at Aer Lingus

By Jordan Shilton, 3 June 2011

Trade unions at Aer Lingus are trying to block a strike by the airline’s pilots.

Qantas CEO escalates provocative campaign against workforce

By Alex Messenger and Patrick O’Connor, 21 April 2011

Qantas chief Alan Joyce denounced the resistance of pilots, engineers, and ground crew to his airline’s plans to undermine wages and conditions as “nothing short of a Kamikaze campaign.”

Australia: Qantas gears up for major assault on airline workers

By Noel Holt, 9 April 2011

Qantas has rejected demands for “job security” clauses in work contracts and is training management personnel as strike breakers.

Australia: Qantas pilots vote for industrial action to defend jobs

By Terry Cook, 23 February 2011

In a bid to fight the company’s aggressive cost-cutting, Qantas pilots have authorised their union to organise industrial action to insert a job security clause in a new enterprise agreement.

A reply to a letter on the Spanish air traffic controllers’ struggle

By Jerry White, 8 December 2010

The WSWS replied to a letter writer from Spain defending the Zapatero government’s attack on air traffic controllers.

Spanish air traffic controller: “We have arrived at something akin to Stalinist Russia, the Stasi or Hitler’s SS”

8 December 2010

This correspondence has been sent to the WSWS by a Spanish air traffic controller. It details the impact of the emergency legislation imposed by the Spanish Socialist Workers Party (PSOE) government, bringing in military control of airports, including forced labour at gunpoint.

A reply to a letter on the Spanish air traffic controllers’ struggle

8 December 2010

The WSWS received this letter from Spain defending the Zapatero government’s military suppression of the air traffic controllers and criticizing the December 6 WSWS Perspective, “The threat of dictatorship in Spain” by Robert Stevens. A reply by WSWS writer Jerry White follows.

Spanish air traffic controller: “We are living now like under Franco”

By Chris Marsden, 7 December 2010

A number of Spanish air traffic controllers contacted the World Socialist Web Site to describe the state terror employed against them under the emergency measures imposed by the Socialist Workers Party (PSOE) government.

Spanish government sends army to break air traffic controllers strike

By Alejandro López and Alex Lantier, 4 December 2010

Prime Minister José Luis Zapatero signed an order to send army units to occupy control towers in airports around Spain, to break a wildcat strike by air traffic controllers.

Unite bureaucracy seeks to end British Airways strike on management’s terms

By Robert Stevens, 27 May 2010

British Airways cabin crew staff began a five-day strike on Monday, the latest action in an ongoing dispute with the airline.

Ban on strikes at British Airways overturned, but dangers persist

By Jordan Shilton, 22 May 2010

The court of appeals ruled two to one Thursday in favour of the Unite union’s appeal overturning a high court decision banning strike action by 12,000 cabin crew at British Airways (BA).

Spanish airport strikers given two-year probationary sentences

By Paul Mitchell, 3 April 2010

Twenty-three Spanish airport workers who went on strike at Barcelona airport on July 28, 2006 and occupied the runways have been given two-year probationary sentences.

Ireland: Trade unions paved way for mass sackings at Aer Lingus

By Steve James, 23 March 2010

The conditions in which Aer Lingus’ was emboldened to sack 1,200 cabin crew were created by the trade union bureaucracy in Ireland.

Spanish airport strikers face imprisonment for sedition

By Vicky Short and Paul Mitchell, 20 March 2010

The charges brought against 27 Spanish airport workers, under an anti-terror law passed during Franco’s fascist dictatorship, represent a major offensive against democratic rights.