Unions at Luxembourg-based Cargolux have called for a mass demonstration next month to protest threatened job cuts as Europe’s largest all-cargo carrier seeks to reduce costs to compete with emerging Middle East and Asian airlines.
The demonstration, set for Nov. 13 outside the Luxembourg Parliament, follows Cargolux’s decision to terminate a collective labour agreement due to expire at the end of the year and to embark on new wage negotiations for its 1,400-strong workforce.
“A reduction in labour cost and improvement in productivity are only two of several initiatives to be undertaken by Cargolux in order to achieve sustainability in the long term,” the company said.
Cargolux slumped to a net loss of $18.3 million in 2011 from a $59.8 million profit in 2010.
Unions also fear Cargolux will relocate its maintenance division, which employs 450 staff, to Doha, the hub of Qatar Airways, which acquired a 35-percent stake in the carrier in 2011.
The Luxembourg government has said it will maintain its current 65 percent in Cargolux following a planned recapitalization of the airline in January following reports that Qatar Airways wants to boost its shareholding to around 50 percent.
But the government has not given any assurances over job security or the transfer of maintenance and other operations from Cargolux’s Luxembourg hub.
Cargolux, the launch customer for Boeing’s 747-8 freighter, is reported to be seeking a 750 million euros ($ 975 million) cash injection over four years.
The carrier is also said to be mulling transferring 10 of its 14 freighters to Qatar Airways and wet leasing them back.
Cargolux took delivery in September of the fifth of 13 747-8Fs, which it ordered to replace its fleet of 747-400Fs.
The Cargolux board is due to hold its next meeting on Nov. 30.
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