Lufthansa, Germany’s flag carrier airline, looks set to be hit by strikes on Wednesday after the trade union Verdi called on the airline’s ground staff to carry out a one-day strike.
The industrial action will affect flights from the airline at airports in Frankfurt — Germany’s busiest airport —, Munich, Hamburg, Berlin and Düsseldorf, the union said on Monday. It comes after a strike by security staff grounded hundreds of flights across the country last week.
The Verdi strike is set to begin at 4 a.m. (0200 GMT) on Wednesday, February 7 and last until 7:10 a.m. on Thursday.
“Since all ground staff, from maintenance to passenger and aircraft handling, will be called to the strike, it will most likely lead to major cancelations and delays,” the union wrote in a statement on Monday, adding that it expected 80% to 90% of Lufthansa’s flight schedule — and more than 100,000 — to be impacted.
Lufthansa criticized Verdi’s decision to call for a strike, saying “a strike of this length and extent before negotiations even begin is incomprehensible.”
Fourth major strike in Germany in 2024
The action comes amid collective bargaining negotiations between Lufthansa and Verdi which represents around 25,000 ground staff working for various Lufthansa branches.
A pay increase proposal from Lufthansa bosses was rejected by Verdi for being too low on February 23. The union has demanded an increase of 12.5% to wages or at least a boost of €500 ($544.30) per month for the next twelve months plus a one-time inflation-offsetting payment of €3,000.
Wednesday’s so-called “warning strike” aims to put pressure on the employer by showing how disruptive industrial action can be ahead of the next round of talks on February 12.
Verdi warned that “the employees are prepared to carry out longer strikes” if Lufthansa cannot accept their demands.
The airline is also facing a two-day strike by pilots at its daughter company Discover Airlines on Tuesday.
Verdi, which is one of the largest unions in Germany, represents workers from a variety of different fields. Last week it also called public transport workers across the country to join a one-day strike.
German rail workers also kicked off the year with the country’s longest ever train strike following a series of “warning strikes.”
Strikes have become more prevalent in Germany in the past year as workers see their wages hit by inflation and the general decline of the German economy.
ab/kb (dpa, Reuters)
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