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Lufthansa strike grounds 97% of flights

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A strike by Lufthansa’s ground personnel and cabin crew has resulted in around 1,800 flights being cancelled.

The strike, spearheaded by services union ver.di, is a result of three rounds of pay talks with the airline’s management falling through.

Last week, Lufthansa rejected the union’s proposed 5.2% wage increase over the next year and job guarantees for more than 33,000 workers. The airline offered a similar pay increment, but over a 29-month period and without job security promised to staff, AP reported.

This week’s strike, which is affecting an estimated 150,000 passengers, is the second one in just over two months. Lufthansa was forced to cancel 700 flights in March after another pay-related strike.

Lufthansa’s chief personnel officer, Stefan Lauer, called the strike “completely excessive”, and said it can in “no way be justified in view of the current state of negotiations”.

However, Gerold Schaub, an official from ver.di, said the union believed it had “no other possibility” to put pressure on Lufthansa’s management.

Two flights between Singapore and Germany have been affected, but Frank Püttmann, a spokesperson for Lufthansa in Asia Pacific, told TODAY the impact has been minimal.

“For the (cancelled) flight yesterday we helped passengers to re-book via other routes or other airlines…so they will get to their destination,” he said.

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