Lufthansa airline pilots went on strike in Germany yesterday, prompting Lufthansa to cancel 900 flights and grounding 200,000 passengers, at an estimated cost of €7-9 million a day. The union, Vereinigung Cockpit (VC), has since called for an extension of the initial two-day strike period.
According to union rep Joerg Handwerg, “Lufthansa management has shown no sign that it is willing to move and has not provided an offer that could serve as a basis for negotiations.” VC is calling for a 3.7% pay rise for 5,400 pilots, backdated to 2012, but Lufthansa has only offered a 2.5% increase over the six years from that date.
Lufthansa twice attempted to stop the walkout by seeking a court injunction earlier this week. The airline claims that it has been necessary to cut costs to compete with rivals such as Emirates and Ryanair, and that the group demanding the increase is already “the best paid group of employees”.
At the same time, ABX Air in the US, a subsidiary of the Air Transport Services Group, has also faced strike action from 250 pilots, grounding 75 flights and affecting DHL and Amazon air shipments. The pilots have complained of understaffing and excessive working hours without compensatory pay, in breach of contract.