Ground staff working for Lufthansa are set to stage a one-day strike this week in a pay dispute causing more disruption for the airline’s passengers.
Around 20,000 airline workers, who are members of the ver.di union, are due to walk out from 3.45am on Wednesday (27 July) until 6am on Thursday (28 July).
The union confirmed that this week’s strike would affect all Lufthansa’s bases, including Frankfurt, Dusseldorf, Cologne, Hamburg, Munich and Berlin, and would cause “major flight cancellations and delays”.
Ver.di is demanding a 9.5 per cent pay increase for its members and is holding a so-called “warning strike”, ahead of further negotiations with Lufthansa in August.
“The situation at the airports in Germany is currently unbearable on many days - for the employees and the passengers,” said ver.di in a statement. “But workers are not to blame for long waits, cancelled or missed flights, and missing luggage.
“On the contrary: the ground handling services and security forces that remain after two years of the pandemic, including massive job cuts, are doing their best every day to keep air traffic going.”
The union added that its members were “out of breath” and blamed the airline for “hardly doing anything to improve their situation”.
But Lufthansa called the one-day strike “unreasonable” and said it would be an “unnecessary burden” for passengers.
Michael Niggemann, chief officer of human resources at Lufthansa, added: “After only two days of negotiations, ver.di has announced a strike that can hardly be called a warning strike due to its breadth across all locations and its duration.
“This is all the more incomprehensible given that the employer side has offered high and socially balanced pay increases – despite the continuing tense economic situation for Lufthansa following the Covid crisis, high debt burdens and uncertain prospects for the global economy.
“After the enormous efforts to stabilise our flight operations, this represents a renewed, substantial and unnecessary burden for our passengers and also for our employees beyond the strike day.”
The next round of negotiations between the two sides is scheduled to take place on 3 and 4 August.