Labor Dispute: Strike Grounds 700 Lufthansa Flights
Lufthansa's far-reaching cost-cutting plans once again resulted in broad strikes on Thursday morning, affecting several of Germany's largest airports. Hundreds of flights were cancelled and the union which called the walkout is not expecting a deal any time soon.
Hundreds of Lufthansa flights were cancelled Thursday morning at airports across Germany as members of a major employee union held warning strikes in advance of labor negotiations with the airline scheduled for Friday.
Lufthansa employees were striking Thursday morning at the Frankfurt, Munich, Berlin, Hamburg, Cologne and Düsseldorf airports. Passengers were being asked to check the status of their flights online. Approximately 700 domestic and intra-European flights were cancelled, with intercontinental flights proceeding as scheduled. The walkouts, which began at 4 a.m., came to a conclusion at midday.
An airline spokesperson said the strikes were "completely unnecessary and disproportionate."
The union, which represents 33,000 employees, primarily in the technical and service units of the airline, called for the strikes to put pressure on Lufthansa, which it wants to see raise wages by 5.2 percent and to offer more secure employment. Lufthansa wants workers to accept a pay freeze and longer working days.
The airline, which has been suffering losses because of competition from low-cost carriers, wants to cut 3,500 jobs worldwide as part of a saving program called "Score."
In September, strikes by Lufthansa flight attendants opposing that savings plan, which could mean significantly less pay for some of them, disrupted hundreds of flights at German airports, including the hub in Frankfurt, and left passengers stranded throughout the country.
mbw -- with wires.
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