The German airline Lufthansa is cancelling nearly all flights to and from Frankfurt and Munich on Wednesday due to a strike among ground staff because of a wage dispute, the company announced in a press release.
At Frankfurt/Main airport, 32 flights will already be cancelled today (Tuesday) and 646 on Wednesday, affecting some 92,000 passengers. For Munich airport, a total of 345 flights will be cancelled: 15 on Tuesday and 330 on Wednesday, affecting a total of 42,000 passengers.
Brussels Airlines, a Belgian subsidiary of Lufthansa, will also be impacted by the strike. "Tomorrow, two of our flights from Frankfurt and one from Munich will be cancelled as a result of the strikes," company spokesperson Kim Daemen told The Brussels Times.
"The early escalation of a previously constructive collective bargaining round is causing enormous damage. It affects our passengers in particular, who are impacted during the peak travel season," Michael Niggemann, Chief Human Resources Officer and Labor Director of Deutsche Lufthansa AG, said in a press release.
Additionally, the strike is putting "an additional heavy strain" on both employees and travellers in an already difficult phase for air traffic, he stressed, adding that this strike has a "massive impact."
Passengers affected by cancellations will immediately be informed and rebooked on alternative flights, if possible. However, Lufthansa already stated that only a very limited number of places is still available.
"This so-called warning strike in the middle of the high season is simply not proportional, given our proposal with hefty wage increases over the next 12 months of more than 10% for those groups earning up to €3,000, and of 6% for a basic wage of €6,500," Niggemann added.
Earlier this week, one of Lufthansa's main trade unions, Verdi, called for an all-day strike by the airline’s ground staff from 03:45 on Wednesday until 06:00 on Thursday morning to "increase pressure on employers."
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“The situation at the airports is escalating: employees are increasingly overburdened by significant staff shortages, high inflation and a three-year wage cut,” said Verdi’s deputy chair Christine Behle. “Staff are in urgent need of better pay and new recruits – for themselves and for the passengers. The employer’s offer falls far short.”
In addition to Frankfurt and Munich, the German airports of Düsseldorf, Cologne, Hamburg and Berlin are also expected to be affected by the strikes.
Last month, Lufthansa already announced that it was canceling some 6,000 flights this summer due to a shortage of personnel, both in-house and at the service providers at the airports.