Lufthansa cancels almost all flights due to strike
FRANKFURT - Agence France-Presse
Cancelled flights are seen on a flight schedule board next to the logo of German air carrier Lufthansa at the Fraport airport in Frankfurt, April 22, 2013. The unions for Lufthansa ground personnel started a strike early morning in demand for higher wages. More than 1500 flights had to been cancelled across Germany. REUTERS/Kai PfaffenbachGerman airline Lufthansa said today it has cancelled most of its domestic, European and long-haul flights at six German airports due to strike action by ground personnel and some cabin crew.
Out of nearly 1,800 planned flights on Monday, “we will operate 20 short and medium-range flights and 12 long-distance services,” a spokesman told AFP.
At Lufthansa’s main hub in Frankfurt, Germany’s biggest and Europe’s third-biggest airport, just six out of a total 50 flights would go ahead, and three from 17 at Munich.
Services union Verdi called the strike after three rounds of pay talks with management ended without any agreement.
Verdi is demanding a 5.2-percent pay increase for 33,000 Lufthansa ground staff, plus employees of various subsidiaries as well as cabin crew members who are Verdi members.
The escalating pay dispute threatens to cause transport chaos across Europe’s top economy and comes a month after Lufthansa was forced to cancel nearly 700 out of a total 1,800 flights due to half a day of warning strikes.
Lufthansa board member Stefan Lauer, said the action, described as a 24-hour warning strike, was “de facto an all-out strike” that was “a completely excessive measure that can in no way be justified in view of the current state of negotiations.” Verdi has accused management of “playing with employees’ fears about their future and their jobs” in refusing to make any concrete guarantees.
The union has complained that the offer tabled by management represented an increase of 0.4-0.6 percent over a period of 12 months.