Germany could face pilots’ strike as Lufthansa union votes for industrial action

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The strike action by German airline Lufthansa ground staff ended at 6am on Thursday morning, According to Verdi union’s Marvin Reschinsky, employees have resumed work and “flight operations can take place as normal”.

Around 1,000 flights were cancelled on Tuesday and Wednesday, affecting more than 130,000 Lufthansa passengers. People taking long-haul flights were also affected. Some connections with sister companies such as Swiss, Austrian and Air Dolomiti were also delayed or cancelled because they are handled by Lufthansa ground staff.

The strike action started at around 3.45am on Wednesday.


Reschinsky said there would be no further work stoppages for the time being, at least until the next round of collective bargaining. That is scheduled to take place next week on August 3rd and 4th in Frankfurt. 

However, more strikes could be called if an agreement isn’t reached. The union wants a 9.5-percent pay rise, or at least €350 per month. It also wants a minimum hourly wage of €13 for staff.

Lufthansa bosses previously said flight operations may be disrupted after the strike finished this week. However, a spokeswoman said there were no extra flight cancellations on Thursday.

Busy days are expected at German airports as Baden-Württemberg schools have started their summer holidays and Bavaria will follow at the weekend.

The strike comes as air travel in Germany continues to be plagued by chaos due to massive staff shortages. 


Federal Transport Minister Volker Wissing called on Verdi and Lufthansa to reach a deal quickly, particularly in light of the current situation.

The FDP politician urged for the conflict to be resolved through collective bargaining. “However, both bargaining parties should think of the passengers,” he said.

The opposition Christian Democrats (CDU/CSU) said Wissing should intervene in the dispute.

“Minister, get the bargaining parties to the negotiating table,” CDU/CSU MP Ulrich Lange said.

“Take your responsibility for German air traffic and make sure that people can fly to their well-deserved holidays, finally after two years of travel restrictions.”

Worries over pilots striking

There are also fears over yet more disruption due to a possible strike by Lufthansa pilots.

Currently, the 5,000 Lufthansa pilots are being balloted about strike action, and the Vereinigung Cockpit union plans to announce the result on Sunday.

If 70 percent of voting union members agree, strikes would be possible if the current negotiations on pay and conditions fail. In this case, the pilots could start industrial action in mid-August, during the holiday season.

The union says it is demanding, among other factors, salary increases of five percent in the current year and automatic inflation compensation from next year.