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Cars and Transportation

German Lufthansa subsidiary strikes cause cancellations

October 20, 2019

Flight attendants working for smaller divisions of airline group Lufthansa are striking over pay and pensions. The UFO union's extended strike has led to cancellations at airports in Germany.

An arrivals board at Berlin's Tegel airport lists cancelled flights
Image: picture-alliance/dpa/C. Gateau

Collective action by a German cabin crew union disrupted Eurowings, Germanwings, Lufthansa CityLine and SunExpress flights on Sunday. The strike was initially set to last between 5 and 11 a.m. but is now expected to last until midnight German time (22:00 UTC), as the cabin crew UFO union decided to extend it on short notice.

The walkout affects flights operated by subsidiaries of Germany's flagship carrier Lufthansa, but not Lufthansa itself.

Airports across Germany have reported cancelations. However, while the UFO representatives described the walkout as "very successful" and said that the more than 100 flights had been canceled, Lufthansa's daughter companies said that only individual flights had been canceled or delayed by the strike.

A man sleeps, waiting for his delayed flight in Dusseldorf
A strike by UFO union members has caused widespread delays and cancellations at airports in western GermanyImage: picture-alliance/dpa/F. Gentsch

At least 15 flights from the German carrier Eurowings were canceled at Berlin's airports, according to a spokeswoman.

Munich Airport reported 10 cancellations on Sunday morning.

"The affected airlines are making do with all personnel who are not organized [in the union]; we'll have to wait and see what the day brings," a spokesman for Munich Airport cautioned.

A spokesman for Dusseldorf Airport, where four connections had been canceled, also predicted more cancellations throughout the day. The airport is reporting that 60 flights are at risk.

Read more: Left party leader calls for nationalizing German airlines

Ongoing dispute

Lufthansa has called the strike illegal. The company also maintains that the union's new leaders, who took office earlier this year, were not properly elected and are thus not in a position to legally represent staff.

UFO organized the walkout over worker's wages, company pensions and part-time work provisions. It is looking for a 2% pay rise for its cabin crew, after it won a 2% pay rise for cabin crew at Lufthansa.

kmm/tj (dpa/Reuters)

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