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German Pilots Go on Strike, Ground and Cabin Crews to Follow

Pilots at two Lufthansa subsidiaries have gone on a 24-hour strike, forcing the cancellation of hundreds of flights. The pilots want better pay, and the passengers are feeling the crunch.

A plane approaches in the distance as two Lufthansa aircrafts, foreground, stand idle at Frankfurt international airport

Pilots have gone on strike, disrupting thousands of flights, and ground and cabin crews could be next

German pilots on a 24 hour strike have forced the cancellation of more than 600 CityLine and Eurowings flights on Monday. Thousands of passengers were given the option of finding other flights or using the German rail system. Lufthansa, which owns the two airlines, is not releasing the exact number of passengers affected, though the biggest impact was at the major German airports in Frankfurt, Munich and Düsseldorf.

The pilots' union Cockpit called some 1,000 pilots at CityLine and Eurowings out on a 24-hour strike that was to end at midnight Monday. The union maintains that the companies have not presented an offer worthy of negotiations in the current round of pay talks.

The head of tariff policies at Cockpit, Ilona Ritter, told AP that the pilots’ union was waiting for “the airlines to move on their demands and come up with an offer.”

Lufthansa spokesman Thomas Jachnow said that an offer has been on the table for the past four weeks.

More strikes in the works

Lufthansa was also holding negotiations with the labor union ver.di concerning some 60,000 ground and cabin crew members. However, these talks fell apart last week with no resolution to the problem. Ver.di has given Lufthansa a deadline of Wednesday to come up with an offer. In the event that an agreement can’t be made by then, the labor union will vote on whether or not they should strike.

Call before you fly

Lufthansa is expressing regret over the strike, urging passengers to call before heading to the airport and, if possible, to drive or take the train. Lufthansa spokeswoman Renate Hocke says the airline finds it “very unfortunate that passengers are bearing the brunt of this.”

CityLine is a subsidiary of Lufthansa, which also holds a 49 percent stake Eurowings. Together the two airlines transport some 18 million passengers a year all across Europe. Regular Lufthansa flights, including international, will not be affected by the strike.

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