Lufthansa pilots on strike, 800 flights likely to be cancelled today
The airline said it was doing everything possible to minimise the effects of Friday's strike called by the pilots' union, but it could not rule out cancellations or delays on some routes over the weekend.
German airlines major Lufthansa is expected to cancel 800 flights on Friday after the pilots' union announced a one-day strike, starting at midnight, over non-approval of salary hike. The strike is said to affect as many as 130,000 passengers, Lufthansa airlines said in a press release.
The Vereinigung Cockpit union told news agency Reuters that pay talks had failed and Lufthansa pilots would stage a 24-hour strike starting just after midnight on Thursday, affecting both passenger and cargo services.
The flight cancellations would affect Frankfurt and Munich airports, the airlines noted, adding that several flights were cancelled on Thursday as well.
The union has demanded a 5.5 per cent pay hike this year for its more than 5,000 pilots and an automatic inflation compensation thereafter.
“We hope to get back to negotiations as soon as possible,” a Lufthansa spokesperson said on Thursday. “However, we cannot bear the cost increases associated with VC's demands either.”
‘At the expense of thousands of customers’
Lufthansa has been facing multiple strikes by security workers and ground staff over pay this year. The airline faced a one-day walkout called by Germany's powerful Verdi union in July that affected its flights at domestic hubs in Frankfurt and Munich.
Lufthansa said it was doing everything possible to minimise the effects of Friday's strike called by the pilots' union, but it could not rule out cancellations or delays on some routes over the weekend.
“We cannot understand VC's call for a strike. The management has made a very good and socially balanced offer – despite the continuing burdens of the Covid crisis and uncertain prospects for the global economy. This escalation comes at the expense of many thousands of customers. This escalation comes at the expense of many thousands of customers,” said Michael Niggemann, the Lufthansa executive board member responsible for human resources.
Lufthansa has offered a total of 900 euros ($901.35) more in basic pay per month in two stages over an 18-month term as well as an agreement guaranteeing cockpit staff a minimum fleet size.
Several other airlines have also been forced to cancel thousands of flights this summer and caused hours-long queues at major airports, frustrating holidaymakers keen to travel after Covid-19 lockdowns due to strikes and staff shortages.
Germany's cartel office has also prohibited Lufthansa from ending long-term cooperation agreements with charter airline Condor until further notice, saying the national carrier was impeding Condor from competing on long-haul routes.
Lufthansa said it took note of the cartel office's decision, adding: "However, we do not share the Bundeskartellamt's view and will therefore submit the decision to a judicial review."