Because of the warning strike by its ground staff, Lufthansa is canceling almost all flights in Munich and Frankfurt today. "We have to cancel almost the entire flight program at the hubs in Frankfurt and Munich," the airline said. The warning strike announced by the trade union ver.di in the wage dispute has massive effects during the peak travel season.
Ver.di had justified the warning strike with an inadequate offer from the employer. Workers are said to be off work from 3:45 a.m. Wednesday to 6 a.m. Thursday. Very different groups of employees are called upon, such as counter staff, aircraft technicians or the drivers of the huge tow tractors that push aircraft into the correct positions at the airport. Without these services, the jets cannot take off any more than they do without pilots or cabin crew.
Delays even days later
Lufthansa will then cancel a total of 678 flights at Frankfurt Airport, 32 of them already today. At the hub in Munich there were a total of 345 flights on both days. Lufthansa HR Director Michael Niggemann criticized the approach: "The early escalation after just two days of negotiations in what has been a constructive round of collective bargaining is causing enormous damage. This affects our passengers in the main travel season in particular. And it puts a strain on our employees in an already difficult phase of air traffic extra strong." Individual flight cancellations and delays are still possible on Thursday and Friday.
In addition to the hubs in Frankfurt and Munich, Düsseldorf, Hamburg, Berlin, Bremen, Hanover, Stuttgart and Cologne are also affected. The Lufthansa Group usually maintains smaller units there, which also offer their services to other airlines. In Bavaria, Friday is the last day of school before the summer holidays. Passengers without transfers should not come to the airports because "little if any" service counters will be open there, the company warned.
Dispatch chaos intensifies
The first strike at Lufthansa after the Corona shock comes against the background of a partially chaotic restart in the industry. Personnel bottlenecks and a strong demand for vacations have already led to considerable handling problems this summer without any strikes. ver.di mainly blames mismanagement at airports and airlines for this.
According to its own information, Lufthansa has offered a two-stage flat-rate salary increase of a total of 250 euros for a period of 18 months, which will be accompanied by a profit-related increase of two percent from July next year. With a monthly base salary of 3,000 euros, this would result in an increase of nine to eleven percent.
Ver.di negotiator Christine Behle described the example as "prettily calculated". For other salary ranges, the increase is only around four percent and thus brings real wage losses for the employees, she said "Stuttgarter Zeitung" and "Stuttgarter Nachrichten". The union demands 9.5 percent more money in the wage tables for a twelve-month term, but at least 350 euros.
Also the pilots before a strike?
In the past week, the pilots' union Cockpit had also campaigned for a greater increase in pilots' salaries. She wants to start a ballot among the approximately 5,000 pilots of the core company Lufthansa and the freight subsidiary Lufthansa Cargo. This emerges from an internal paper that is available to the dpa news agency. However, both sides emphasized their willingness to continue talks.
The reason for the strike preparations of the VC are the deadlocked after six rounds of negotiations about a new wage agreement. According to the letter, Lufthansa has not yet submitted a negotiable offer. According to its own statements, the VC demands, among other things, salary increases of five percent in the current year and an automated inflation adjustment from the coming year. She had terminated the current contract on June 30th.