DThe federal government opposes the bonus program planned by Lufthansa. Government spokesman Steffen Hebestreit took a position on Wednesday with unusually clear words. “In the understanding of the federal government, the accumulation of bonus payments in connection with a later payment after the end of the stabilization measures that existed in the WSF would violate the agreements made,” he said. The abbreviation WSF stands for the Federal Economic Stabilization Fund. During the corona pandemic in May 2020, Lufthansa supported him with an aid package worth several billion euros. “Interesting legal questions” would now have to be clarified, Hebestreit continued.
This week it became known that the Lufthansa Supervisory Board had decided at the beginning of December to reactivate an incentive program for the Executive Board, which allows payments for successful financial years. Distributions are not planned until 2025, but the years from 2021 onwards will be used to calculate the long-term bonus.
However, the federal government did not exit until September of this year. Bonus payments were excluded for the duration of the aid measures. When asked if the government was now considering legal action against the airline, Hebestreit said the different positions would be discussed “and then we have to see what comes out of it”.
Trade unions are also critical
Criticism also came on Wednesday from the flight attendants’ union UFO and the pilots’ association Cockpit (VC). The reports on bonus payments to the members of the board of directors were “taken note of with astonishment,” it said in a joint statement. The company management is apparently not aware of the “signalling effect of this decision”.
With the signal effect, however, the employee representatives meant less the effect on taxpayers and more on the employees in the company. The recognition that Lufthansa is on the upswing again after the crisis should “not stop below the executive floor,” said VC President Stefan Herth.
As part of the rescue package, the federal government took over a 20 percent stake in Lufthansa. Seats on the supervisory board were taken by Lufthansa’s Michael Kerkloh, former CEO of Flughafen München GmbH, and Angela Titzrath, CEO of Hamburger Hafen und Logistik AG. It is not known whether they voted for or against the bonus program in the decisive meeting – only that the decision was not unanimous.