Lufthansa pilots plan to paralyze their company's flight operations this Friday with an all-day strike. At shortly after midnight, they laid down their work. After announcing the strike, the airline canceled almost the entire program of the core company. Affected are about 130,000 passengers of more than 800 flights canceled at the Frankfurt and Munich hubs.
Passengers have been asked not to come to the airports, but to switch to trains or flights on another day. They are entitled to refunds and possibly compensation payments in the event of cancellations or serious delays.
According to the Vereinigung Cockpit (VC) union, only the departures of Lufthansa's core airline and Lufthansa Cargo from German airports are subject to strike action. The subsidiaries Lufthansa Cityline, Eurowings and Eurowings Discover are not affected by the industrial action and are expected to fly as scheduled. The same applies to foreign Lufthansa subsidiaries such as Swiss, Austrian and Brussels. Lufthansa flights from non-German airports will also take place, provided aircraft and crews are already abroad. The union had called the strike on Thursday night after collective bargaining negotiations with Lufthansa failed.
Lufthansa criticized the strike call and has called on the VC to return to the negotiating table. According to the company, the VC's demands would increase cockpit personnel costs by 40 percent. Even without considering the financial consequences of the Corona crisis, this is beyond the bounds of reasonableness, it said. Most recently, the Group had offered an increase in basic monthly pay of a flat 900 euros. Based on a term of 18 months, this would result in increases of 18 percent for career starters and five percent for captains in the final grade, Lufthansa announced.
In addition to 5.5 percent more money this year, the VC had demanded automatic compensation for inflation from 2023. In addition, there would be a new salary scale and more money for sick days, vacation and training. Over a period of two years, this would mean an additional burden of 900 million euros, Lufthansa explained.
It was only in July that the Verdi trade union virtually paralyzed flight operations at Germany's largest airline for an entire day with a warning strike by ground staff. More than 1,000 flights were cancelled and around 134,000 passengers had to change their travel plans. In the subsequent round of negotiations, the union achieved pay increases for the approximately 20,000 ground staff that were well into double digits, particularly in the lower pay grades. The flight attendants' union Ufo intends to negotiate for its members in the fall. It declared its "express and unqualified solidarity" with the pilots' strike.
Image by Mathew Browne