In a major escalation of a long running dispute over pay and conditions, flight attendants at German flag carrier Lufthansa have today announced plans to stage a 48-hour strike from the 7th to 8th November.
In an initial statement, the airline said it “strongly condemned” the strike call from the UFO union and vowed to seek a court injunction to prevent it from going ahead.
On Friday, the Independent Flight Attendants Association (UFO) revealed the results of a ballot that showed over 86 per cent of members who voted backed a walkout. The union says it sent a letter to Lufthansa the sane day in a bid to restart stalled negotiations but was rebuffed by the airline.
Lufthansa says it does not accept the legitimacy of the UFO to represent its cabin crew and is pursuing a separate legal claim to void the union’s right to bargain.
The UFO believes Lufthansa is seeking to replace its bargaining committee with representatives from the Ver.di union – presumably because they are seen as being less militant.
“Lufthansa’s flight attendants will be leaving their work for a total of 48 hours from Thursday, 07.11.2019, from 0:00 to 08.11.2019 at 24:00. It affects all LH flights that start in and out of Germany during this time,” said Daniel Flohr, deputy UFO chairman at a press event today.
“It is time to use the fundamental right (to strike) with a clear conscience to bring the employer to reason,” added Nicoley Baublies, the union’s chairman.
”A policy of rearmament, baseless claims, flood of processes and defamation campaigns has so far and will not help anyone in this conflict in the future,” he continued.
A so-called “warning strike” on the 20th October and involving flight attendants from four Lufthansa subsidiary airlines – Eurowings, Germanwings, SunExpress Germany and Lufthansa CityLine – led to the cancellation of approximately 200 flights.
The UFO warned that flight attendants from these airlines could be called to join further strikes at any time.
Lufthansa has apologised to customers but did not immediately provide details on what it would be doing if the strikes do go ahead. Flight attendants will assemble at Frankfurt airport on the second day of the strike for a rally and march.
Despite being offered an immediate 1.5 per cent pay rise, flight attendants are unhappy about cost cutting measures that have seen their working conditions eroded. The collective bargaining agreement for flight attendants at the airline lapsed back in June.