Lufthansa cabin staff have begun a 24-hour nationwide strike, affecting about 900 flights and causing travel chaos for thousands of passengers.
A Lufthansa spokesman said: “On average there are 1,800 Lufthansa flights during a normal day, around half of these will take place.”All German regions and all types of flights have been affected, said the spokesman, including long-haul.The airline had been expected to cancel up to 1,200 flights.Thousands of passengers face disruption as the strike – called by the UFO union – affects Germany’s six main airports including Frankfurt, Berlin and Munich.Frankfurt airport has been “strongly affected”, the airline said.
But hopes of a reconciliation rose on Friday morning when Lufthansa said it had renewed contact with the cabin crew union.UFO is seeking a 5% pay increase for cabin crew and assurances on jobs.The union, which represents about two-thirds of Lufthansa’s 19,000 cabin crew, argues that its members have had no pay rise for three years.UFO also wants guarantees that Lufthansa will not outsource jobs or use more temporary workers, as it has at Berlin airport.
Lufthansa spokesman Klaus Walther said that the airline had offered to stop fixed-term contracts and halt the use of temporary staff, but the airline is only proposing a 3.5% rise in salary.Some 43,000 Lufthansa customers were disrupted by Tuesday’s strike, which was limited to just three airports and resulted in 350 cancelled flights.Of these, 1,500 faced overnight stays on temporary beds in airport lounges.This was the second strike following action at the end of last week.
The latest strike looks set to affect far more passengers.Lufthansa said it had managed to re-book some passengers onto other flights and would attempt to resume services as soon as possible once the stoppage was over.There are concerns that passengers travelling on other airlines could also be affected. Last week, Frankfurt airport was forced to close briefly to European traffic due to the backlog of planes left by the strike.
Lufthansa flies in the UK from Aberdeen, Edinburgh, Manchester, Birmingham, Heathrow, Gatwick and London City to the affected airports in Germany.The airline is currently undergoing a 1.5bn euro ($1.9bn; £1.2bn) cost-cutting programme to offset rising fuel costs and tackle competition from low-cost and Gulf carriers.The airline reported a 24% drop in second-quarter profits to 229m euros compared with a year earlier. In May, it announced it would axe 3,500 office jobs. – BBC