Consensus reached in collective bargaining at German air navigation service provider DFS

In a difficult economic and geopolitical environment, DFS has signed a collective labour agreement with the GdF, the German air navigation services union.

Arndt Schoenemann, DFS CEO said:  
"With over 70 days of negotiations over the course of two years, as well as exploratory talks and numerous working group meetings with the trade union, we have worked tirelessly to reach this agreement. Together, we are demonstrating that sensible and sustainable decisions are possible in turbulent times. Times that have seen war in Europe, military demands on airspace and the end of the biggest crisis in aviation due to COVID-19."

A total of eighteen collective agreements will be revised. They include these new regulations in particular:

Pension scheme  
The company pension scheme is being converted to a new, capital-market-financed system for new hires. This will reduce fluctuations in balance sheet provisions caused by changes in interest rate, and thus also the impact on air navigation services charges.

New regulations for air traffic controllers and other operational professions
Experts from DFS and the GdF have drawn up a new, standardised collective agreement for numerous operational job profiles beyond that of the air traffic controller.

In future, air traffic controllers as well as operational technicians and engineers will be paid a higher final salary band. Newly recruited air traffic controllers will start in a lower remuneration group. Given the large number of retirements (of baby boomers) and the associated current increase in recruitment levels, this will lead to a reduction in costs.

In future, part-time models in the operational area will be more closely aligned with operational requirements under the collective agreements. The same applies to new regulations in staff scheduling, which will become much more flexible than before. This will also allow a significant increase in the efficiency of the staff deployed in the core area of air traffic control.
Changes in the administrative area  
Binding career models and possible salary differentials for new hires are planned for the administrative area. In addition to a clearer and more uniform organisational structure, this will create more flexibility for the company. Depending on the market situation, DFS will be able to recruit the right staff for the job.

Pay rises
With a term of more than four years from January 2023 to March 2027, incremental pay increases of a nominal 20 percent have been agreed. This roughly corresponds to the annual inflation rate. These rises were already negotiated in 2022. They will become effective now that the overall package that has been agreed.
"Compared to other, exceptionally high agreements in the aviation industry, we have collectively shown sound judgement. The pay rises are reasonable and justifiable," continued Schoenemann. "Taken as a whole, all the measures paint a balanced picture. In these turbulent times, they are a symbol of stability and reliability. After all, this is what we are committed to in air traffic control."

In addition to the previously agreed pay rises, the measures will take effect from 1 January 2025.

Media contact: 
Robert Ertler
Telephone: +49 (0)6103 / 707-4160  
DFS Deutsche Flugsicherung GmbH (DFS), the German air navigation service provider, is a State-owned company under private law with 5,700 employees as at 31 December 2023. DFS ensures the safe and punctual flow of air traffic over Germany. Around 2,200 air traffic controllers guide more than three million flights through German airspace in peak years, up to 10,000 every day. The company operates control centres in Bremen, Karlsruhe, Langen and Munich as well as control towers at the 15 designated international airports in Germany. The subsidiary, DFS Aviation Services GmbH, markets and sells products and services related to air navigation services, and provides air traffic control at nine regional airports in Germany and at Edinburgh Airport in the United Kingdom. DFS is working on the integration of drones into air traffic and has set up a joint venture, Droniq GmbH, with Deutsche Telekom. Other subsidiaries include R. Eisenschmidt GmbH, which markets publications and products for general aviation, and Kaufbeuren ATM Training GmbH (KAT), which provides training for military air traffic services personnel. The joint venture FCS Flight Calibration Services GmbH offers flight inspection services.