Almost two and a half years after the insolvency of air berlin, the federal labor court has rejected demands by flight attendants for severance pay.
In a landmark decision on four disputes, the first senate in erfurt ruled that the cabin crew of the former airline are not entitled to any payments from the insolvency administrator as compensation for disadvantages (1AZR 149/19). They thus confirmed rulings by the state labor courts of dusseldorf and berlin-brandenburg.
The highest german labor court in erfurt has received about 450 claims for severance pay from air berlin flight attendants, a court spokesman said. The plaintiffs now had to decide whether to pursue their case further. Hundreds of other cases are pending before the labor and state labor courts, according to legal experts. At the time of the insolvency in august 2017, air berlin is said to have employed around 8,600 staff, including around 3,500 cabin crew members.
The precedent was set by a stewardess from north rhine-westphalia. She had received her notice at the end of january 2018 with effect from the end of april. Their lawyer argued in the hearings that the cabin staff committee had not been called in as required before the planned shutdown of flight operations.
The plaintiff claimed that the shutdown had already taken place with the pilots’ notice in november 2017 and thus before the attempt to reach a settlement with the flight attendants’ representation. Because of this death, compensation for disadvantages is to be paid – a kind of penalty payment.
This argumentation was not followed by the federal labor court. The chairwoman of the first senate, court president ingrid schmidt, said, "the problem with airlines is that there are different personnel representatives for individual employee groups". Thus the development in the cockpit area was not decisive. The flight attendants’ staff representatives had been involved in their own concerns with an attempt to reconcile their interests.
In the coming month, former employees of air berlin will again have their cases heard in erfurt. In another 450 or so cases, the court spokesman said, it’s a matter of notification procedures.