Passengers at Frankfurt airport suffered delays as a strike against Lufthansa by cabin staff took place on Friday. The action was staged after union negotiations regarding wages and staff policy failed.
A spokesman for the German flag-carrier said the eight-hour work stoppage had forced the cancellation of 190 flights to and from Frankfurt. The majority of these involved domestic or European destinations.
The Lufthansa spokesman told reporters that 26,000 passengers had been affected by the work stoppage, which began at 5 a.m. local time on Friday. He said there would be delays throughout the rest of the day but that “it's getting better and better.”
Lufthansa management appears to have been caught somewhat off guard by the scale of the strike, having planned for just 64 flight cancellations. At one point, Frankfurt Airport closed for incoming flights from other European airports due to a lack of parking space on the apron. A spokesman for the company that operates the airport, Fraport, said a total of 230 flights had been cancelled, an apparent indication that Lufthansa wasn't the only airline affected.
The trade union that represents Lufthansa cabin crew, UFO, had called on around 1,000 flight attendants to down tools on Friday morning and, although they declined to provide a figure on just how many of their members had walked off the job, union officials expressed satisfaction about the work stoppage.
Speaking to ARD public television, UFO chairman Nicoley Baublies didn't rule out further strikes.
"That depends on the behaviour of Lufthansa... We are ready to act at any moment, anywhere in Germany, by announcing our action six hours in advance," he said.
The union is seeking a five percent pay rise for its workers for a period of 15 months backdated to January of this year. Management has offered 3.5 percent.
ccp, pfd/sej (DAPD, dpa, Reuters)