German flag carrier Lufthansa will cancel up to 90% of its flights scheduled for Wednesday, 7th February, after the union, which represents the airline’s ground workers, called a so-called ‘warning strike’ after collective bargaining negotiations ground to a halt.
The United Services Union, which is also called Ver.di, says up to 25,000 airport ground employees will walk out on Wednesday at five major airports across Germany, including Lufthansa’s two main bases in Frankfurt and Munich.
Other airports to be hit by the stoppage are Berlin, Düsseldorf, and Hamburg.
Lufthansa is said to have offered its airport ground workers a wage increase of just 2% in the first year of a new contract. The airline has refused to return to the negotiating table after this offer was roundly rejected by the Ver.di union.
“Since all ground workers from maintenance to passenger and aircraft handling are called to a warning strike, there are likely to be major flight cancellations and delays,” the union warned in a statement earlier this week.
“This strike would be unnecessary if Lufthansa were to grant ground staff the same increases as other employee groups in the Group,” commented Ver.di spokesperson Marvin Reschinsky.
“However, there was no willingness to do this at the negotiating table. We therefore hope that passengers will understand because they too, like the employees, want an end to the staff shortage and a better service.”
Reschinsky cautioned that longer strikes could be possible if Lufthansa refuses to improve its offer.
Ver.di is calling on Lufthansa to improve wages by at least 12.5% and to offer workers a one-off payment of €3,000 to address the rising cost of living across Germany.
In recent weeks, Lufthansa has been hit by a separate strike by airport security staff, as well as a walkout by pilots and cabin crew at its Discover Airlines subsidiary. The main cabin crew union at Lufthansa has also warned that bargaining talks have broken down and that strike action could be on the horizon.
In a statement, Lufthansa said it would only be possible to operate between 10 and 20% of scheduled flights on Wednesday.
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.