The German national airline Lufthansa will “cancel almost the entire flight program” on Wednesday from its hubs in Frankfurt and Munich as ground staff, including check-in agents, engineers, and pushback truck drivers, get ready to go on a one-day “warning strike” in an effort to secure significant pay increases.
The airline announced that it would cancel more than 1,000 flights on Tuesday and Wednesday, potentially leaving 134,000 people stranded.
The Lufthansa hub in Frankfurt will be the worst hit, with a total of 678 flights canceled and 92,000 passengers grounded. Additional 345 flights out of Munich will be canceled, impacting 42,000 passengers.
After only two days of negotiations with the airline, the Ver.di United Services union declared a strike. The union is calling for a minimum salary of €13 per hour and a pay increase of at least 9.5 percent, or €350 per month, whichever is higher.
According to the union, some employees at Lufthansa’s cargo handling businesses make just €12 per hour.
Lufthansa says the strike action is unjustified and will cause “enormous damage”. The airline has offered workers a pay rise of €250 per month, plus a 2 percent increase from 1 July 2023.
The airline, according to Michael Niggemann, chief human resources officer, is also ready to agree to the union’s requests for raising the minimum pay to €13 per hour.
Up to 20,000 workers may not go to work until 6 am on Thursday due to the strike, which is scheduled to begin at 3:45 am on Wednesday. According to Lufthansa, there may be delays on Thursday and Friday.
To further complicate matters, the start of the Bavarian and Baden-Württembergian school breaks coincides with the weekend.