Wednesday April 17, 2024

Lufthansa cancels 90% of flights amid 2nd wave of strikes

Published : 20 Feb 2024, 22:20

  By Christian Ebner, dpa
Lufthansa Boeing 747 jets stand on the northwest runway at Frankfurt Airport. File Photo: Boris Roessler/dpa.

A second strike this month by Lufthansa employees has brought flight operations to a near halt at several German airports.

Germany's largest airline was able to offer only 10% of its 1,000 scheduled take-offs and landings on Tuesday, a spokesman told dpa. Around 100,000 passengers were affected.

The strike was particularly noticeable at the Munich and Frankfurt hubs, but Lufthansa flights were also cancelled at many other airports. The airline had warned affected passengers not to come to the airport because no rebookings are possible there.

Trade union Verdi called individual groups of employees, such as technicians and IT experts, out on strike from Monday evening. On Tuesday morning, employees at the counters, gates and directly at the aircraft joined in.

The second wave of strikes will have an even greater impact than the first one almost a fortnight ago, Verdi's negotiation leader Marvin Reschinsky said.

"We have now proved twice that we can strike," Reschinsky told dpa.

Once again there is a high level of worker participation in the strikes, he said, meaning that even more flights were cancelled than in the first wave at the beginning of February.

"It would therefore be wise to come to a conclusion now," he said of the contract negotiations.

During the first strike at the beginning of February, around 900 flights were cancelled.

The union said the negotiations scheduled for Wednesday at the Lufthansa headquarters in Frankfurt could well be extended to Thursday if a deal is within reach.

The mere fact that another date has been reserved for March does not mean that the union does not want to reach an agreement now, Reschinsky said.

Verdi is demanding a 12.5% pay rise for the more than 20,000 employees as well as an inflation compensation bonus of €3,000 for a term of one year. Lufthansa recently offered the bonus and around 10% more pay for a term of 25 months.

The first salary increase would take place in December 2024.

Verdi's Reschinsky again demanded a higher offer from the company. Compared to the pilots, the salary increases for ground staff offered so far were too low, he said.