Four Lufthansa planes in a row signalling the aircraft will continue to operate and will not be overcome by strikes
Lufthansa has agreed to increase pay for ground staff © Reuters

Lufthansa has cancelled almost all of its German-based flights today following strikes by union Ver.di. The move has impacted over 130,000 passengers, as airline ground workers across Germany down their tools to demand higher wages.  The action is set to last until 6 am tomorrow morning.

Over 1000 Flights Cancelled By Lufthansa

Lufthansa announced yesterday it would cancel over 1000 flights, following action by trade union Ver.di. Workers have been on strike at major German airports, including Berlin, Cologne, Dusseldorf, Frankfurt, Hamburg and Munich. 678 of the flights cancelled are at Frankfurt Airport, which will affect over 92,000 passengers.

Lufthansa A380s
around 134,000 passengers have been affected| © David Ramos / Getty Images

The strikes started at 3:45 am local time on Wednesday and will go on until 6 am Thursday. Lufthansa’s Head of Media Relations, Martin Leutke, said the company is doing its best to rebook travellers on alternative routes whilst the action continues. A “massive strike on the backs of customers is not understandable and not justified”, he told the press on Wednesday, noting that the airline had already gone through two rounds of negotiations with the union.

Worker’s Demands

Ver.di is asking for a 9.5% pay rise to shield their wages against inflation, which was at 8.6% in Germany in June. The change would amount to a minimum increase of €350 a month for the next 12 months. Lufthansa’s offer to raise pay by €150 each month, going up to €250 from 2023, was rejected by Ver.di, who said it would not be enough to offset inflation.

ver.di union strikes at german airports Lufthansa
Strikes are being carried out by airport worker’s union Verdi | David Young

Michael Niggemann, chief human resources officer and labour director at Lufthansa, said the strike action is “simply no longer proportionate” after the airline offered workers “very substantial pay increases over the next 12 months”.

Christine Behle, the union’s deputy chairperson, said: “[The workers] urgently need more money, and they need relief – for themselves and for the passengers. The employer’s offer is not sufficient for this.”

Staff shortages, high inflation and a three-year wage cut have put employees under increasing pressure. Across Europe, airline workers have been striking to demand better working conditions and higher pay. Earlier this month, worker action in Italy forced the cancellation of 500 passenger flights, while Scandinavian Pilot strikes successfully secured better working rights for SAS aircrew.

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