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Pay strike grounds Lufthansa flights

Apr 21 2013 17:06
Lufthansa

Lufthansa (Picture: AFP)

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Berlin - German flag carrier Lufthansa said that most of its domestic, European and long-haul flights would be cancelled on Monday due to strike action by ground personnel and cabin crews.

"Due to strike action announced for April 22, nearly all Lufthansa flights to German and European destinations must be cancelled," the airline announced in a statement on Saturday.

The firm said it had scheduled only around 20 of its usual 1 650 short-haul flights for Monday and warned long-haul routes would also be seriously affected.

A spokesperson for the airline confirmed that the planned strike will affect German airports from which Lufthansa operate. These include Munich and Frankfurt, both prime destinations for flights from South Africa, reports James-Brent Styan for Fin24.
  
“Long haul flights will be operated where possible.  All passengers are requested to check the status of their flights online at www.lufthansa.com.

"Lufthansa regrets the inconvenience caused to their passengers and will endeavour to minimise the effects of the strike as much as possible,” the spokesperson told Fin24.

Services union Verdi, representing 33 000 staff at the airline, announced the strike action on Friday to put pressure on Lufthansa management to make a better pay offer.

The union said the offer put forward by Lufthansa on Wednesday was "scandalous".

Lufthansa had estimated the strike will cost it tens of millions of euros and has described the labour action "absurd" and "out of proportion", given the early stage of negotiations.

"Despite an offer being made by Lufthansa in the last round of negotiations, despite constructive talks and further dates for more talks, Verdi is once again holding our customers hostage in this pay dispute," said Stefan Lauer.

Lauer is Lufthansa's executive board member for personnel and is leading the pay talks, although he is stepping down by the end of June. 

Lufthansa's offer was to raise salaries by 1.2% from October this year and a further 0.5% a year later, in a deal that would run for 29 months and would not contain job guarantees.

Verdi wants a 5.2% pay rise for cabin crew and ground staff at Lufthansa Cargo, Lufthansa Technik, Lufthansa Systems, catering unit LSG Sky Chefs and ground crews. It is also seeking a commitment by Lufthansa to safeguard jobs.

Staff represented by Verdi have already held a one-day strike on March 21, forcing Lufthansa to cancel nearly 40% of its average 1 750 flights for the day.

Lufthansa also recommended passengers restrict themselves to hand baggage where possible, in an attempt to avoid the sort of queues seen at check-in desks in Frankfurt during March's strike.

Passengers with tickets for flights within Germany will be able to travel on the Deutsche Bahn train network instead.
 
 - Reuters, AFP, Fin24


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