Lufthansa has taken legal action against its cabin crew in an attempt to end its ongoing strike. The cabin crew union has also announced its plans to walkout of all flights until Friday, as the strike enters day four.
Earlier in the day, Lufthansa said it applied to labor courts in Düsseldorf and Darmstadt to rule on the case.
Lufthansa indicated that it requested injunctions against the record-breaking campaign, saying the strike call of the cabin crew union UFO was "not specific enough." Lufthansa CEO Carten Spohr justified this legal move by saying the board was forced to explore all legal risks and opportunities.
"I would prefer to find a solution at the negotiation table and not in court," the Lufthansa CEO told Reuters TV.
On Tuesday, the airline had to cancel 136 intercontinental and short-distance flights due to cabin crew walkouts. UFO targeted Germany's three largest airports in Frankfurt, Munich, and Düsseldorf, leaving over 27,000 passengers stranded.
"We are taking the lawsuit seriously," said UFO head Nicoley Baublies. The union's lawyers believe that the company has no chance of success in court.
Lufthansa successfully stopped a strike in September after taking legal action against the pilots' union, Cockpit. In the end, the judges in Frankfurt sided with Lufthansa's arguments and declared the strike illegal.
Union strikes back
Later on Tuesday, UFO expanded the strike parameters in an attempt to ground all Lufthansa flights. It called upon its 19,000 members to walk out of all short, middle and long-distance flights starting on Wednesday and lasting until midnight on Friday.
Among other contract disputes, UFO is trying to secure transition payments for its members if they retire early. The union rejected an offer from cost-cutting Lufthansa on Monday, saying it offered only "minimal" improvement.
Along with unhappy passengers, German industry leaders have also condemned the strike, saying it is hurting the German economy.
Lufthansa also confirmed on Tuesday that all of its flights from Germany wfould be affected starting at 4:00 a.m. (03:00 UTC) on Wednesday. Flights operated by Lufthansa's subsidiaries Germanwings, Swiss Airlines and Austrian Airlines will not be affected by the campaign.
rs/kms (AP, AFP, dpa, Reuters)