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Lufthansa staff to strike on Friday, affecting 130,000 passengers

September 1 2022
3 min read
Lufthansa staff to strike on Friday, affecting 130,000 passengers
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Disruption is expected at German and European airports this weekend after Lufthansa announced it is to cancel “almost all flights” in and out of Munich and Frankfurt on Friday due to strikes.

The carrier has confirmed it will have to cancel around 800 flights Friday, leaving over 130,000 passengers in the lurch after pay negotiations with the pilots’ Vereinigung Cockpit union collapsed.

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In short, if you were planning to fly with the German flag carrier later this week, you might want to reassess your itinerary. Even if you avoid the initial strike, which is due to start at 12:01 a.m. Friday morning and end at 11:59 p.m., there’s likely to be further disruption as affected passengers are shifted onto services in the surrounding days.

A revised flight schedule may lead to further “individual cancellations or delays on Saturday and Sunday,” warned a spokesperson for Lufthansa.

Lufthansa pilots voted in favor of striking during a ballot in early August, and unions warned the vote had sent “an unmistakable signal to Lufthansa to take the cockpit staff’s needs seriously.”

Indeed, Lufthansa’s operations will come to a halt Friday as pilots stage a strike that will ground the majority of the airline’s services across Germany.

Related: Winter is coming: Lufthansa latest airline to take an ax to seasonal schedule

Lufthansa has said the package pursued by union representatives would increase pilot personnel costs by 40% (over $895 million). Given the last-minute nature of the strike, it’s fair to say this has been flatly rejected by airline bosses.

RYAN PATTERSON/THE POINTS GUY

Don’t expect any last-minute deals to be struck, though. Lufthansa leaders have bemoaned the union’s decision to strike Friday, saying they had put forward a “very good offer” to increase a pilot’s basic salary by $896 per month.

However, the European Cockpit Association, the union that represents European pilots, said it wasn't enough.

“Currently, we are too far apart. In addition to compensating for the loss of real wages, we now need above all a sustainable solution for the compensation structure in all occupational groups,” said the union.

Vereinigung Cockpit, the German airline pilots' association, has been fighting for its members to receive a 5.5% wage increase by 2023, with any future earnings adjusted to any rising inflation.

At present, energy bills are skyrocketing across the continent at a rate not seen for decades. Inflation is also set to rise rapidly in Germany ahead of what is shaping up to be a winter of discontent for the airline.

Related: 6 real-life strategies you can use when your flight is canceled or delayed

Last week Lufthansa announced plans to cut an as-yet-unspecified number of flights from October 2022 through March 2023, predominantly affecting passengers flying from its Frankfurt Airport (FRA) base. The airline said it’s taking these steps to “offer passengers a reliable and predictable flight schedule.” The carrier said understaffing issues (both internally and at the airport) are the overriding reason for the cuts.

The latest bout of strike problems won’t help customer confidence going into October and beyond.

If you do find yourself caught out by this week’s strike action, keep calm and read up on these helpful hacks to use when your flight is canceled.

Featured photo by Daniel ROLAND / AFP.
Editorial disclaimer: Opinions expressed here are the author’s alone, not those of any bank, credit card issuer, airline or hotel chain, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any of these entities.

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