The UFO cabin crew union says Lufthansa staff could walk off the job next month amid a pay dispute. A strike in the middle of summer will likely spell travel chaos for thousands of passengers planning to go on holiday.
German cabin crew union UFO on Thursday called on flight attendants with German carrier Lufthansa to go on strike in July.
The union's acting deputy chairman, Daniel Flohr, accused the airline of deliberately escalating the wage dispute with its employees.
Speaking in Frankfurt, he said workers at subsidiaries Eurowings and Germanwings would vote in a strike ballot as soon as possible, with a ballot to follow at Lufthansa in the coming weeks.
"At the end of these initial votes, we will announce exactly when, where and for how long these labor actions will take place," Flohr said.
A strike during the summer holiday season could lead to major disruptions for thousands of passengers hoping to fly to their travel destinations.
UFO, which says it represents about 30,000 cabin staff, claims Eurowings has failed to stick to collective bargaining agreements signed in the past.
Parent company Lufthansa rejected UFO's allegations, saying the industrial action could not take place "because there currently aren't any open collective bargaining agreements or concrete claims." There was no comment from Eurowings.
The union pulled out of a collectively negotiated agreement in March, but Lufthansa did not recognize the move.
"We can't shape the working conditions of more than 20,000 flight attendants if not even previously agreed deals are secure," the airline said.
"Lufthansa could easily eliminate this front, and spare us flight attendants, passengers and shareholders the extra concern this summer," Flohr said, adding that the airline had canceled all its negotiations with the union last week.
Lufthansa's profits have fallen in recent years amid stiff competition from foreign airlines, primarily those in Gulf countries, and other European budget airlines.
nm/rt (AFP, dpa, Reuters)