Over 1000 flights from Germany’s flag carrier Lufthansa were canceled on Wednesday, July 27th, due to a planned strike by ground staff. The strike started at 3:45 a.m. local time in Germany and ended Thursday, July 28th at 6:00 a.m. These flight cancelations affected over 134,000 passengers, mostly in Germany’s main hubs Frankfurt and Munich. Passengers were unable to go to the airports because the service counters were unstaffed, and planes from Lufthansa and many other airlines were unable to take off, including Air Canada.
The union Ver.di announced the strike on Monday, July 25th, stating the need to put pressure on the Employer as negotiations continue. Lufthansa’s offers have been inadequate in the first two rounds of negotiations, so the Union says this strike is a ‘warning strike’ before the third round of negotiations. Warning strikes are common in Germany and typically last a few hours to a few days. 20,000 workers including ground staff, counter staff, and technicians are involved in the strike.
These delays are frustrating for traveler’s who have been dealing with long lines, delays, and lost luggage for the past few months since travel demand has taken off for the first time since the start of the COVID 19 pandemic. This level of customer dissatisfaction puts a lot of pressure on the employer, which puts the union in a great bargaining position in these challenging times.
The Union is calling for a 9.5% pay increase for an 18-month period. Prior to this, employees were put on a three-year wage freeze. Given current inflation, this is unacceptable and has put huge financial stress on the workers. It is no secret that the world is currently experiencing disruptions and delays in airports due to staff shortages and an increased travel demand, which is putting a lot of stress on hard working airport employees. It is time the Employer step up to the plate to recognize these employees who worked on the front lines through the worst of the pandemic, and treat them with the respect they deserve.
The third round of negotiations is scheduled for early August. Airport employees are severely overworked due to the staff delays and are needed now more than ever. Planes cannot take off without airport employees, and travel demand is at a high. The hard work and long hours, as well as inflation, should be considered by the employer during negotiations.
On behalf of Watson Labour Lawyers*, we send best wishes to Ver.di and their members!
* as of 2023 Watson Palmer Labour Lawyers