Ground staff for Lufthansa walked off the job at five major German airports including Frankfurt, Berlin and Munich on Wednesday, causing the airline to cancel hundreds of flights
Hundreds of staff have walked out of their jobs at Europe’s second largest airline today.
Ground staff for Lufthansa walked off the job at five major German airports on Wednesday, causing the airline to cancel hundreds of flights. Although the strikes are limited to travel hubs in Germany, the knock-on effect will be felt across Europe.
The Verdi union called on ground staff at Frankfurt and Munich, Lufthansa’s two main hubs, as well as Berlin, Düsseldorf and Hamburg, to strike for 27 hours starting at 4am Wednesday.
Ahead of the strike Lufthansa said it expected to be able to operate around 10-20% of all planned flights. The airline is letting customers rebook tickets free of charge, while tickets for German domestic flights can be converted to rail vouchers.
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In Frankfurt, the company cancelled 80-90% of the planned 600 departures and arrivals by Lufthansa itself and subsidiary Air Dolomiti ahead of the strike, German news agency dpa reported. More than 400 departures and arrivals at Munich Airport also were cancelled.
All Lufthansa departures from Berlin and Hamburg were grounded, as were most domestic flights from Dusseldorf. Lufthansa anticipated that, in all, more than 100,000 people would have to change their travel plans.
Only passengers who have been told that their Lufthansa flights have not been cancelled should head to the airport today, as rebooking counters will not be staffed for the duration of the industrial action.
Lufthansa unit Eurowings said it wasn’t affected by the industrial action.
The union is seeking a 12.5% pay raise, or at least 500 euros ($539) more per month, in negotiations for nearly 25,000 employees, including check-in, aircraft handling, maintenance and freight staff. Hourslong or one-day “warning strikes” are a common tactic in German contract negotiations.
The industrial action is not the first to have disrupted transport in Germany in recent weeks. Last Thursday, Verdi called for security staff at several major airports to take strike action, with the firm staging a walkout that led to local buses, trams and subway trains being cancelled in much of Germany.
Last summer was a particularly tumultuous one when it came to industrial action. As high rates of inflation continued to squeeze workers’ wages across the UK and broader European Continent, staff across the transport sector decided to walk out in numbers not seen for decades.
Baggage handlers, check-in workers and flight attendants all joined train drivers and station staff in walking out in protest at pay and conditions. Although the rate of inflation has dipped across most of Europe in recent months, the Lufthansa walk-out suggests more strikes are likely, particularly when the busier travel times of the year begin.
Lufthansa has been contacted for comment.