Strike action by German flight attendants yesterday led to around 100 cancellations at various airlines in the Lufthansa Group.
In Berlin, Cologne, Munich and Stuttgart in particular, passengers were hit by the labour dispute between the Ufo cabin crew union and Europe’s largest aviation group.
The union extended the strike yesterday morning from the originally planned six to 19 hours – now lasting until midnight (2200 GMT) – at the group’s subsidiaries Eurowings, Germanwings, Lufthansa Cityline, and Sunexpress.
There were no strikes at the core company Lufthansa following a pay agreement, which meant that only a few Lufthansa Cityline flights had to be cancelled at the largest German airport in Frankfurt.
“The pompous announcements by Lufthansa – that all flights would take place – simply did not come to pass,” deputy Ufo chairman Daniel Flohr said in Frankfurt.
He accused management of enticing strike-breakers with up to €200 ($223) in extra bonuses.
A spokesman for Eurowings said that only collectively agreed supplements would be paid, and these would always be due if flight attendants volunteered on days off.
The effects of the unlawful strikes were limited, the Lufthansa Group said yesterday.
“More than 90% of the crews arrived on time for duty,” the parent company said.
Lufthansa and Eurowings did not initially name a total number of cancelled flights.
A clearer picture was expected to emerge after the end of the strike.
“Today we just want to minimise the impact on customers,” Lufthansa spokesman Martin Leute said.
According to publicly available timetables, a total of at least 100 flights were cancelled at airports in Berlin, Cologne, Munich, Stuttgart and Hamburg, among others.
The flights affected were mostly domestic German flights where passengers could be brought to their destination by train instead.
In Dusseldorf, a Eurowings flight to the New York airport of Newark did not take off, but for technical reasons not because of the strike, the company said.
According to a timetable analysis by the online portal Austrianaviation.net, some 500 flights could potentially have been affected by the Ufo strike yesterday.
Eurowings said it was able to replace many of its flights with other airlines, such as Walter and Austrian Eurowings.
The walkout, which had originally been planned between 5 am and 11am (0300-0900 GMT), was extended at short notice until midnight yesterday, Ufo’s Flohr told DPA.
Strikes at the core airline Lufthansa were called off after the union accepted a 2% pay rise for cabin crew working for it.
Lufthansa is still not prepared to conclude the formal collective pay agreements with Ufo as it no longer recognises the union’s board of management as having the authority to represent itself after significant management disputes.
The airline group wants to deny the union the ability to conclude collective pay agreements in a legally binding manner before the courts.
In the background, the competing union Verdi is preparing to conclude new collective pay agreements for the cabin crew.
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