Lufthansa pilots went on strike on Friday, forcing the German airline to cancel hundreds of flights, leaving holidaymakers stranded.
The airline said it canceled about 800 flights at its main bases in Frankfurt and Munich on Friday, affecting 130,000 passengers, and said it was working flat out to minimize the impact of the strike.
The union Vereinigung Cockpit (VC) had called more than 5,000 Lufthansa pilots to a 24-hour strike after the last wage round failed.
Strikes and staff shortages have already forced several airlines, including Lufthansa, to cancel thousands of flights this summer, causing long queues at major airports and frustrating people wanting to travel again after Covid-19 lockdowns.
Passenger Liane Dickson was scheduled to fly from Johannesburg to Amsterdam via Frankfurt, but the second leg of her flight was canceled before she left South Africa.
“It’s now 16 hours later and we don’t have an email to say why it happened, what to do next,” she said at Frankfurt Airport.
“There was chaos at Johannesburg Airport yesterday because people didn’t know whether to check in their luggage to Amsterdam or to Frankfurt.”
The VC union is calling for a 5.5 percent salary increase this year, followed by automatic inflation compensation and better conditions for young professionals.
Lufthansa has said VC’s demands would increase staff costs by 40 per cent, or around 900 million euros, over the next two years.
The airline has offered a total of 900 euros more base salary per month in two steps over a period of 18 months, which would result in more than 18 percent higher salary for entry-level jobs and 5 percent more for senior positions.
VC’s demands also come amid rising energy and food prices, with German inflation rising to its highest level in almost 50 years in August.
“I don’t think this (strike) is appropriate. It’s peak travel time and very short notice,” said Andrea Buchloh-Adler at Frankfurt Airport.
“Pilots are not low earners. They are certainly not as hard hit by the energy crisis and inflation as many others who go about their day-to-day work.”
Last month, Lufthansa management reached a collective agreement with ground staff, preventing further strikes after a strike forced the company to cancel more than 1,000 flights.
Lufthansa is also facing possible strikes by pilots at subsidiary Eurowings, who voted for industrial action but are due to hold a round of talks with management next week.
https://www.independent.ie/business/world/lufthansa-cancels-hundreds-of-flights-as-pilots-strike-over-pay-41955532.html Lufthansa is canceling hundreds of flights because pilots are on strike over pay