Lufthansa strike ′affects 150,000 passengers′ | News | DW | 22.04.2013
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Lufthansa strike 'affects 150,000 passengers'

Air travel with Lufthansa has been all but halted as ground crew strike over a wage dispute. Most flights were canceled, forcing travelers to find alternative modes of transport.

Lufthansa had 1,720 flights scheduled for Monday, but only 32 were expected to get off the ground as airline employees launched a one-day strike. The airline announced the cancellations on Saturday.

"The terminal is almost empty because most passengers were prepared" and made other arrangements, Gerold Schaub, a Verdi official said at Frankfurt airport on Monday.

The 24-hour strike is the latest round in a campaign by the Verdi union to secure higher wages and job guarantees for the airline's 33,000 technicians and service workers.

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Lufthansa strike leaves passangers grumbling

Verdi announced the strike on Friday after last week's wage talks broke down. The union is seeking increased job protection for employees, as well as an across-the-board 5.2 percent pay rise.

Lufthansa responded to the demand with a modified offer, claiming the airline would take job classification and performance into account. The airline's response also included smaller raises over a 29-month period.

Schaub said the strike was necessary because Verdi has "no other possibility" to put pressure on the airline.

Monday's strike was the second action by Verdi over the pay dispute, following a March 21 strike that resulted in 700 flight cancellations.

Lufthansa's view

Along with other European airlines, Lufthansa is trying to cut operating costs in order to remain competitive with budget carriers.

Lufthansa board member Stefan Lauer took aim at Verdi's tactics, saying the strike was a "completely excessive measure that can in no way be justified in view of the current state of negotiations."

Lauer estimated that 150,000 passengers were affected by the action.

Thanks to the early cancellations over the weekend, passengers had plenty of time to rebook their flights or find alternative modes of transport.

Tickets for the canceled flights can be reimbursed or exchanged for an alternative flight. For those traveling in Germany, passengers can use the rail operator Deutsche Bahn.

tm/mkg (AP, AFP, dpa)

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