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Lufthansa Will Be Forced to Ground Most Flights On Thursday and Friday as Workers Stage Longest Strike Yet

Lufthansa Will Be Forced to Ground Most Flights On Thursday and Friday as Workers Stage Longest Strike Yet

a white airplane on a runway

Lufthansa will be forced to ground most of its flights on Thursday and Friday after the United Services Union, or Verdi, as it is also known, called all of the German flag carrier’s ground employees in its home country to go on strike in a dispute over pay and conditions.

This is the third strike by Lufthansa’s ground employees in as many weeks and the longest yet. In a previous strike involving all ground employees, Lufthansa was only able to operate around 10% of its normal daily schedule, and hundreds of thousands of passengers were left stranded.

The Verdi union said it called the latest warning strike after the airline reportedly declined to return to the negotiating table following a smaller and far less disruptive walkout by some technical staff last week.

Union officials have demanded pay rises of at least 12.5% or a minimum of €500 extra per month. Lufthansa has only offered around half of what the union is demanding and has tabled a slightly higher pay rise on the condition that the contract remains locked in for nearly two and a half years.

Negotiator Marvin Reschinsky says some employees are nearly hourly wages of just €13 which isn’t enough to keep up with the rising cost of living in many German cities.

The strike will start at 4 am on Thursday and continue through to 7:10 am on Saturday.

In a statement, Lufthansa noted: “we expect extensive effects on the flight program. Passengers who will be affected will receive information about cancellations and rebooking options by email or in the Lufthansa app”.

Ground employees staged a one-day warning strike in mid February which resulted in mass cancellations. Some workers from Lufthansa’s Cargo and Lufthansa Technik divisions were then called to strike for three days at the end of February, although that walkout had little impact on Lufthansa’s flying programme.

In addition, Lufthansa was heavily impacted by a separate strike by German airport security staff last week. The airline’s cabin crew are currently voting on whether to approve their strike action.

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