Now here’s a first. German union Verdi has called on 33,000 workers at Lufthansa to go on strike on Thursday to increase pressure on the airline in a dispute over wages and job security.
But this being Germany, the strike has a set time to begin and a set time to end. The strike is expected to last for about five hours from 5:00 am Central European time potentially disrupting hundreds of flights ahead of the next round of wage talks on Friday.
In negotiations that started last month, Verdi is demanding a 5.2 percent increase in wages for 12 months for employees on the ground at Lufthansa Cargo, Lufthansa Technik, Lufthansa Systems and catering unit LSG Sky Chefs, as well as a commitment by Lufthansa to safeguard jobs.
But Lufthansa, Europe’s biggest airline by revenue, has said that it wants to freeze pay and ask employees to work one hour more each week to help it remain competitive in a tough market.
Everyone’s doing it. Air France-KLM and British Airways, are all trying to shrink costs in the face of high jet fuel prices and fierce competition have fanned tensions with workers.
Strikes at Spanish airline Iberia, for instance, caused thousands of flight cancellations at a cost of about EURâ‚¬30 millionÂ until workers accepted a mediated deal last week.
Thursday’s strike at Lufthansa will affect operations across Germany, though Hamburg and the airline’s main hub in Frankfurt will be most affected. If you’re already booked on Lufthansa, call the airline to cancel your flight.