Lufthansa to cancel over 800 flights amid mass public sector walkouts | News | DW | 09.04.2018

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Lufthansa to cancel over 800 flights amid mass public sector walkouts

Lufthansa has canceled hundreds of flights on Tuesday, as Germany braces for mass public sector strikes. Germany's largest airport in Frankfurt has warned of "significant delays and cancellations."

Germany's largest airline Lufthansa warned that more than half of its scheduled flights on Tuesday will be canceled, as airport staff prepares to go on strike as part of a nationwide public sector walkout.

In a statement posted on Twitter, Lufthansa said it "must cancel more than 800 of its planned 1,600 flights tomorrow, including 58 long-distance services, because of the strike." Some 90,000 passengers would be affected, it added.

Read more: Lufthansa profits soar after Air Berlin demise

Service at airports is set to return to normal on Wednesday, Lufthansa said. 

The mass strikes will hit Germany's major airports, including Frankfurt, Munich, Cologne-Bonn and Bremen.

Frankfurt Airport — Germany's largest — warned of "significant delays and cancellations" affecting multiple airlines. Airport staff urged travelers to check with their airline ahead of departure as to whether their flights would go ahead.

Lufthansa said customers could change their flights dates free of charge or, if traveling to domestic destinations, exchange their flights for train tickets.

'Allow good workers to share in good economic performance'

Germany's major union Ver.di said the public sector walkouts aim to "increase pressure" on employers and "allow public sector workers a share in good economic performance" in Germany, where rising tax income has seen the pace of growth continue to pick up in Europe's largest economy.

As well as airports, the strikes will also cripple local transport, kindergartens, trash collections and hospitals in several major states, including Berlin, Bavaria and North Rhine-Westphalia. While airport services are set to resume as normal on Wednesday, other public sectors will remain affected by the strikes until Friday.

Workers' representatives are demanding a 6-percent pay raise or an increase of at least €200 ($245) per month for the 2.3 million public sector workers, which include airport security personnel and fire brigade officers.

Union groups have been buoyed by the successes of metalworkers union IG Metall, which in February wrung a 4.3 percent pay increase and a more generous right to temporarily go part-time.

Read more: German metalworkers finally secure wage agreement

Lufthansa personnel chief Bettina Volkens, however, slammed the pay dispute as "unacceptable," noting that the airline was not itself involved in the pay dispute, but rather airport staff and their employers.

The upcoming strike is set to run until April 13 across a range of public services, after which workers' representatives and public sector employers are set to hold a final round of negotiations slated for April 15-16.

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dm/kms (dpa, AP, AFP, Reuters)