Almost all flights operated by Lufthansa to and from Frankfurt and Munich airports are cancelled today, due to a pilots’ strike.
About 800 flights are cancelled, the strike having started last night at 00:01 and lasting until 23:59 tonight. The airline expects disruptions from today’s strike to be felt throughout the weekend as well.
More than 130,000 passengers are expected to be affected by the cancellations, the airline informing that “Passengers affected by cancellations will be informed immediately and, if possible, rebooked on alternative flights.”
A month ago, Lufthansa pilots voted in favour of striking if their demands would be left unmet. After an unsuccessful negotiation meeting between the pilots’ trade union Vereinigung Cockpit (VC) and management of the airline, the pilots gave their strike notice just 2 days in advance, leaving little to no room for adjustment for Lufthansa.
VC is asking for a wage increase of 5.5% and the automatic wage indexation for its 5,000 pilots from next year. The airline believes the pilots were offered a reasonable salary increase.
The management has made a very good and socially balanced offer – despite the continuing burdens of the Covid crisis and uncertain prospects for the global economy. This escalation comes at the expense of many thousands of customers.Michael Niggemann Lufthansa’s Chief Human Resources Officer and Labor Director
Lufthansa said the pilots were offered a €900 increase in their salaries, accounting for an 18% increase for entry level co-pilots and a 5% increase for experienced captains. “We hope to get back to negotiations as soon as possible. However, we cannot bear the cost increases associated with VC’s demands either”, the spokesperson added.
However, the union says the airline does not do much to help its employees. “Lufthansa took advantage of yesterday’s negotiation date, but did not use it to move towards the union’s demands with an improved offer… In order to avert labour disputes, Lufthansa must present a significantly improved offer… In addition to compensating for the loss in real wages, what we now need above all is a future-proof solution for the remuneration structure in all occupational groups”, said VC spokesperson Matthias Baier yesterday.