Labour court’s relief: Lufthansa loses case, 17 cabin crew victorious


The central government industrial tribunal-cum labour court passed an order to Lufthansa Airlines commanding the rehire of 17 former employees. The airlines terminated 85 employees in early 2021 which the court declared ‘unlawful’ in the recent hearing.

On February 2, 2021, the carrier terminated a total of 102 Indian employees, serving as cabin crew members. Out of these 102 employees, 31 reached a settlement with the management, while the remaining individuals pursued various legal avenues to address the issue. 

As per a petition filed by some of the employees, the airline had only provided one month’s salary to the cabin crew, along with other contractual and statutory payments. 

The order is specifically made in favour of the 25 employees out of the remaining 71 who individually approached the labour court. Among these 25 employees, eight members reached a settlement with the management, while the remaining ones will be rehired by the carrier. 

Along with the rehiring, the court has also instructed the airlines to compensate them for the period from their termination date (February 2, 2021) to the date of the court’s order, within two months. Furthermore, the court’s comprehensive 16-page order specifies that failure to comply would result in a 6 per cent annual interest penalty.

In response to the petition, the Lufthansa management argued that termination was a last resort, citing substantial losses incurred during the COVID-19 pandemic and the challenges faced in maintaining their operations in India.

However, according to the petitioners, the management initially proposed a leave without pay (LWP) arrangement for the cabin crew for a duration of two years. However, the staff members requested that they receive at least 50 per cent of their salaries during this LWP period, which the management refused to accept.

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