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Global Economy

Lufthansa cancels 800 flights

Lufthansa has to cancel 800 flights because of the pilots' strike on Friday. The airline announced that these were almost all flights to and from Frankfurt and Munich. The strike has massive effects in the main return travel time at the end of the school holidays in several federal states. 130,000 passengers are expected to be affected.

There may also be occasional cancellations and delays on weekends. Passengers are asked to keep themselves informed at www.lufthansa.com.

The companies Eurowings and Eurowings Discover are not affected by the strike call and should fly as planned. Lufthansa flights from non-German starting points also take place, provided that aircraft and crews are already abroad.

Strike call by the Cockpit Association

The pilots' union Vereinigung Cockpit (VC) has called on the more than 5,000 cockpit employees at Lufthansa and Lufthansa Cargo to go on strike all day from 12:01 a.m. on Friday. From the point of view of the trade union, the negotiations about higher collective wages had failed.

All departures from Germany of the core company Lufthansa and Lufthansa Cargo are to be struck, as VC announced. The board of directors decided after intensive negotiations with the company and at the request of the collective bargaining committee, said a spokesman.

Tariff dispute over payment

"In order to avert labor disputes, Lufthansa must present a significantly improved offer," said VC tariff boss Marcel Gröls. The official reason for the industrial action is the failed negotiations on a new collective wage agreement from the point of view of the trade union. Even an exploratory round behind closed doors and an improved offer from the company last week had not brought a breakthrough. Most recently, talks were unsuccessful this Wednesday.

Lufthansa did not use the date for an improved offer, explained the VC. For the approximately 5,000 captains and first officers, it demands salary increases of 5.5 percent in the current year and automatic inflation compensation from the coming year.

The company criticized the strike call by the pilots' union. "We have absolutely no understanding of VC's call for a strike," said Human Resources Director Michael Niggemann in the morning. "The employer side has made a very good and socially balanced offer – despite the lingering effects of the Corona crisis and uncertain prospects for the global economy."

97.6 percent ballot for strike

In the background, there is also a conflict about the future corporate strategy. In the past, VC had had the exact number of 325 aircraft guaranteed, which could only be flown by the approximately 5,000 captains and first officers who were subject to the group collective agreement. Under the impression of the Corona crisis, Lufthansa had terminated the corresponding agreement and started to set up a new flight operation (AOC) with lower tariff conditions under the crane logo. The new airline, known internally as "Cityline 2", is to take over numerous flights from the previous core company in European traffic.

According to VC, 97.6 percent voted in favor of the labor dispute in the Lufthansa passage, and at the smaller Lufthansa Cargo it was even 99.3 percent. According to the union, participation was over 93 percent in both flight operations. Approval from more than 70 percent of all those entitled to vote was required.

It was only in July that the Verdi union almost paralyzed Lufthansa flight operations for a whole day with a warning strike by ground staff. More than 1,000 flights were canceled and around 134,000 passengers had to change their travel plans. In the subsequent round of negotiations, the union achieved salary increases for the approximately 20,000 land workers, which were well into the double digits, especially in the lower wage groups.

The last pilots' strike at Lufthansa ended in February 2017 after 14 rounds and an ultimately successful arbitration. According to information at the time, the industrial action that began in 2012 cost Lufthansa at least 500 million euros.

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