Lufthansa flights: when are airline staff striking and why?

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German trade union ver.di is demanding a 9.5% pay rise after rejecting an offer from Lufthansa for 2%

German The union ver.di has called on Lufthansa ground staff to go on a one-day strike over an ongoing dispute over the pay of around 20,000 workers at the airline’s logistics, engineering and freight subsidiaries.

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The aim of the strike is to increase pressure on Lufthansa ahead of the next round of negotiations, due to take place early next month.

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When does the strike take place?

Ver.di has called on employees to move out on Wednesday morning (July 27) in what has been dubbed a “warning strike”.

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In a statement from the union, the strike is scheduled to begin at 3:45 am and end at 6 am on Thursday morning (July 28).

Parked planes of German airline Lufthansa are pictured at Berlin Brandenburg Airport BER Willy-Brandt in Schoenefeld near Berlin, Germany, 20 February 2021. (Photo by TOBIAS SCHWARZ/AFP via Getty Images)

The strike affects all Lufthansa locations, including Frankfurt, Düsseldorf, Cologne, Hamburg, Munich and Berlin.

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“Since all ground workers, including Lufthansa Technik, are responsible for maintenance and the LEOS employees, who use pushback vehicles to ensure that the aircraft are pushed back into the appropriate positions, are called on a warning strike, there will be major flight cancellations and delays,” said ver.di.

Why is the Lufthansa workforce on strike?

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The strike was called by ver.di over an ongoing wage dispute, with the union demanding a 9.5% wage increase this year.

Lufthansa has offered a 2 percent increase from mid-2023, subject to the company’s financial results, and a €150 per month increase for the rest of this year, plus a further €100 from early 2023.

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Ver.di rejected the offer on the grounds that it “didn’t even come close to compensating for inflation and would mean a considerable loss of real wages for employees in view of the current price increases”.

Travelers check in for Lufthansa flights at Tom Bradley International Terminal (TBIT) amid travel restrictions during the Covid-19 pandemic (Photo by PATRICK T. FALLON/AFP via Getty Images)

Ver.di Vice President and negotiator Christine Behl said: “In the second round of negotiations, the employees, who are exposed to enormous pressure every day, were waiting for a strong signal that could have led to a good result.

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“They urgently need more money and they need relief – for themselves and for the passengers. The employer’s offer is not sufficient for this.”

According to ver.di, the next round of negotiations is to take place on August 3rd and 4th in Frankfurt.

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Further negotiations will take place in early August (Photo by TOBIAS SCHWARZ/AFP via Getty Images)

Lufthansa Chief Human Resources Officer Michael Niggemann said: “After only two days of negotiations, ver.di announced a strike which, given its breadth across all locations and its duration, can hardly be described as a warning strike.

“This is all the more incomprehensible given that the employers have offered high and socially balanced salary increases – despite Lufthansa’s continued tense economic situation after the Covid crisis, high debt burden and uncertain prospects for the global economy.

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“Following the enormous efforts to stabilize our flight operations, this represents a renewed, significant and unnecessary burden for our passengers and also for our employees beyond the day of the strike.”

Are UK flights affected?

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Ver.di has said it expects major cancellations and delays as a result of the strike, although it is currently unclear how badly flights to the UK will be affected.

An update on the Lufthansa website states that further information on cancellations and “further flight plan changes” will be published by Monday evening (July 25).

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What do I do if I am affected by the strike?

The Lufthansa website states: “If you are affected by the cancellation of a Lufthansa flight, Lufthansa will rebook you on another flight free of charge and usually automatically and will inform you via your mobile phone number or by e-mail.

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Passengers wait to board a Lufthansa flight (Photo by Alexander Hassenstein/Getty Images)

“However, it is currently taking longer to find an adequate rebooking solution during the peak travel season.

“If you do not receive a message from Lufthansa, Please check the current status your booking. Here you can also adjust the rebooking again if you wish.”

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