More than 1,000 flights were canceled early on Wednesday as a result of a strike by ground personnel at Deutsche Lufthansa (LHAG.DE), further disrupting travel during the busy summer travel season.
Verdi, a labor union, called for the strike, which is scheduled to go until 6 a.m. (0400 GMT) on Thursday. Verdi is demanding a 9.5 percent salary increase for almost 20,000 employees and has threatened more industrial action.
Nearly all of Wednesday’s flights at Lufthansa’s hubs in Frankfurt and Munich have been canceled due to the strike.
Holidaymakers eager to fly following COVID-19 lockdowns have been frustrated by strikes and personnel shortages that have already prompted airlines like Lufthansa to postpone thousands of flights and led to hours-long waits at major airports.
The airline said that the walkout was unwarranted and exaggerated, calling it “a terrible day” for tourists who couldn’t make their flights as a result of the strike.
Diego Lambiase’s continuing flight was canceled on Wednesday, leaving him detained in Frankfurt while his route from Africa to Paris.
At Germany’s largest airport, he told Reuters TV, “They claim I will be rebooked tomorrow, but nobody was here when we came to indicate what we have to do, where we have to go, where we will sleep.”
“We are seeking for some Lufthansa personnel, but when we enquired, we were informed that it would be difficult to locate anybody from the airline at the airport today. So we’re at a loss for what to do “said he.
Verdi sought a 9.5 percent salary increase—or at least 350 euros ($368) more per month for 12 months—from its roughly 20,000 employees last month. The company claims that these employees are being squeezed by inflation and have been overworked as a result of staffing shortages at airports.
For the remainder of this year, Lufthansa promised a raise of 150 euros per month, followed by another 100 euros at the beginning of 2023 and a 2 percent increase based on the company’s financial performance from mid-2023.
Verdi turned down the offer, claiming it wasn’t enough to counteract the country’s skyrocketing inflation, which reached 8.2% in June.
Julian Grundmann, who was traveling to the Seychelles on a different airline, said, “I can understand (the strike), since they have the greatest power right now, during the summer vacation season.
But this is difficult for everyone who intended to travel today and who had been eagerly anticipating their vacation, he added.
There have already been two rounds of pay discussions between Verdi and Lufthansa. The third will take place on August 3 and 4.
“If Lufthansa is obstinate the next week and doesn’t increase its offer, we will think about further repercussions for industrial action. Strikes wouldn’t be entirely excluded, “Verdi’s Marvin Reschinsky stated.