German flag carrier Lufthansa will “cancel almost the entire flight program” out of its Frankfurt and Munich hubs on Wednesday as ground workers from check-in staff to engineers, and push-back truck drivers prepare to stage a one-day ‘warning strike’ in a bid to win big pay rises.
The airline said it would cancel more than 1,000 flights on Tuesday and Wednesday, with as many as 134,000 passengers stranded as a result of the disruption.
The worst affected will be Lufthansa’s Frankfurt hub where a total of 678 flights are set to be axed and 92,000 passengers grounded. A further 345 flights will be cancelled out of Munich and 42,000 passengers affected.
Strike action was called by the Ver.di United Services union following just two days of talks with the airline. The union is demanding a pay rise of at least 9.5 per cent or €350 per month – whichever is greater, along with a minimum wage of €13 per hour.
Some staff within Lufthansa’s cargo handling companies earn just €12 per hour, the union claims.
Lufthansa says the strike action is unjustified and will cause “enormous damage”. The airline has offered workers a pay rise of €250 per month, plus a 2 per cent increase from 1 July 2023.
Michael Niggemann, the airline’s chief human resources officer also says it is willing to meet the union’s demands to increase the minimum wage to €13 per hour.
The strike is set to start at 3:45 am on Wednesday and up to 20,000 workers won’t return until 6 am on Thursday. Lufthansa has warned that disruption could be felt through Thursday and Friday.
To complicate matters, school holidays begin in Bavaria and Baden-Württemberg just before the weekend.
Mateusz Maszczynski honed his skills as an international flight attendant at the most prominent airline in the Middle East and has been flying throughout the COVID-19 pandemic for a well-known European airline. Matt is passionate about the aviation industry and has become an expert in passenger experience and human-centric stories. Always keeping an ear close to the ground, Matt's industry insights, analysis and news coverage is frequently relied upon by some of the biggest names in journalism.