• Germany edition
 
Have Your Say
'They have rights but not a three-day strike'
A pilot on strike at Frankfurt airport on Wednesday. Photo: DPA

'They have rights but not a three-day strike'

Published: 03 Apr 2014 08:50 GMT+02:00
Updated: 03 Apr 2014 08:50 GMT+02:00

The three-day strike, called by union Cockpit, in a row over pilots’ pensions has grounded 3,800 flights and affected 425,000 passengers.

On Wednesday afternoon the atmosphere at Tegel airport was more or less business as usual, with all airlines apart from Lufthansa operating as normal.

Couples were still having joyful reunions at the arrival gates, confused tourists were still asking security guards for directions in broken English, and everything in the airport shop still costs three times the normal price.

But at Lufthansa's gates, the airport was a ghost town. The strike has forced Germany’s biggest airline to cancel 130 flights here.

Most of the desks were empty and the orange queuing ribbons strung across the hall had no impatient passengers to keep in line.

On the various departure boards, each Lufthansa flight was marked with a flashing red "gestrichen" – cancelled.

At one Lufthansa information desk, a few employees were still on duty. Occasionally, it seemed, they had to deal with passengers transferring or re-booking their flights for after the strike.

But even though not every passenger is flying Lufthansa, most at Tegel did have an opinion on the pilots’ action.

Bonnie Zillmann, 22, a student, told The Local: "I think it's fair that they're striking, because everybody wants the same thing - a better future for themselves and their families - and they have jobs that are hard on them.

“It's a lot of time away so sure, why not try to secure their future a little longer.

“My step-dad is a pilot so I know all about that life. Imagine doctors striking because of the same reason, everybody would lose themselves.

“They would be like 'oh my god, give them what they want' but people don't think in the long-run about pilots and that they'll be needing them as well.

“Just because it's one airline striking out of hundreds doesn't mean that the other airlines aren't going through the same thing.

“The pilots there are probably looking up to the pilots here."

But Ursula Korch, 59, a commodities buyer, said: "I’ve already made up my mind: it's not justified. It should be sorted out in other ways, not just by strikes that affect thousands of people who now can't fly – especially these days when we rely on these short journeys.

“I think there are other ways and means to get this done. They have a right to make demands, but not with a three-day strike.

“They're hardly the lowest earners. There are a lot of groups of people who earn significantly less, and others who have to work much longer, so I don't think it's justified.

"I'm flying to Düsseldorf for three days. By chance I'm flying with Air Berlin this time - normally I fly Lufthansa from Dresden, because I come from that region. That saved me by accident.

“A lot of my colleagues from Munich have had to re-book their flights. They are now flying via Salzburg, because at Munich everything has been cancelled."

One Lufthansa passenger, 54, who only gave his name as Klier, said: “I think the airline is in the right here, something needs to change because pilots are already very well looked after.

“On the other hand, I can understand, when the discussions have been going on for two years already, you feel you have to draw the line.

“Whether it's a good idea to strike for three whole days is more doubtful – I think it's too long. One day would have done."

SEE ALSO: Asylum seeker forces plane to land in Munich

For more stories about Germany, join us on Facebook and Twitter

Alex Evans (news@thelocal.de)

Don't miss...X
Left Right

Your comments about this article

Today's headlines
Lufthansa to resume Tel Aviv flights
A Lufthansa flight at Ben Gurion International Airport. Photo: DPA

Lufthansa to resume Tel Aviv flights

UPDATE: German flag carrier Lufthansa said Friday evening it would resume flights to and from Tel Aviv on Saturday after a four-day suspension due to the conflict in the Gaza strip. READ  

Pro-Gaza, Israel marches choke city centres
Protesters gather in Berlin on Friday. Photo: DPA

Pro-Gaza, Israel marches choke city centres

UPDATE: Pro-Palestinian and pro-Israeli demonstrators marched in Berlin and other cities on Friday's International Quds Day, as thousands of police stood ready to deal with excesses, including anti-Semitism that had marred earlier protests. READ  

Finders, keepers for Berlin cash hunt
Money will be hidden around Berlin. Photo: @HiddenCash/Twitter

Finders, keepers for Berlin cash hunt

A California millionaire, who became an internet phenomenon by hiding cash and tweeting hints about its location, is bringing the frenzy to Germany this weekend. READ  

'Police killer' confesses to shooting officer
Officers searching a field on Thursday near the scene of the killing. Photo: DPA

'Police killer' confesses to shooting officer

UPDATE: A suspect has been arrested following the killing of an off-duty police officer in western Germany on Wednesday night. The shooting sparked a large manhunt near Frankfurt on Thursday. READ  

German tourist shot dead in Kenya
Two foreign tourists were murdered in Mombasa this month. Photo: DPA

German tourist shot dead in Kenya

Kenyan police said on Friday a female tourist shot dead in the coastal city of Mombasa was from Germany, the second such killing of a foreign visitor by gunmen there this month. READ  

Firms would back Russia sanctions '100 percent'
Flowers laid to the victims of the MH17 plane crash at the Korporaal van Oudheusdenkazerne army barracks in Hilversum, The Netherlands. Photo: EPA/JERRY LAMPEN

Firms would back Russia sanctions '100 percent'

German industry would support "100 percent" tougher sanctions against Russia over the Ukraine crisis, the chairman of a major business lobby said on Friday. READ  

Expat Dispatches
What do you love about Germany?
Photo: DPA

What do you love about Germany?

This week's Expat Dispatches is gathering a lengthy list of everything we love about Germany. Blogger and writer Liv Hambrett starts with her reasons why she loves the country. READ  

BSkyB to launch pan-European pay-TV giant
The Murdoch media empire is rolling out a vast new pay-TV network through Europe. Photo: DPA

BSkyB to launch pan-European pay-TV giant

UPDATE: Rupert Murdoch's media empire 21st Century Fox has struck a mega deal with British satellite television group BSkyB to create a pan-European pay-TV giant, both companies said on Friday. READ  

German of the Week
Should we all get €12,000 a year?
Martin Bohmeyer has not worked for money in six months. Photo: DPA

Should we all get €12,000 a year?

What would happen if everyone was suddenly paid €1,000 a month with no strings attached? "Let's try it," says Michael Bohmeyer, who raised the money through crowdfunding and will now experiment with the idea of a basic income for one year. READ  

Robber fails because he can't speak German
Communication is key for cops and robbers alike: Photo: DPA

Robber fails because he can't speak German

An armed robber fled a Berlin supermarket empty-handed in frustration over his lack of German language skills. READ  

RECEIVE OUR NEWSLETTER AND ALERTS
instagram.com/gotzemario
Gallery
Germany's World Cup stars share their holiday photos
Travel
Plans unveiled for bike trail along former Iron Curtain
Photo: DPA
Sport
Yoga helped Jogi's boys bring World Cup home
Photo: DPA
National
Pressure on police over anti-Semitic protests
Photo: DPA
Gallery
The Local List: 12 best words in German
Photo: DPA
Politics
View from Germany: 'Nobody will win in an economic war with Russia'
Photo: DPA
Business & Money
Jobtalk: How innovative is Germany?
Photo: DPA
Gallery
German Bucket List: How many of these can you tick off?
Photo: DPA
Gallery
Germany's week in pictures: July 12th - July 18th
Photo: DPA
Business & Money
Which workers is Germany short of?
Photo: DPA
Gallery
Ten best expat jobs in Germany: Which one would you choose?
Photo: Europeana.de 1914 - 1918
Gallery
A German soldier's life behind WWI lines
Photo: Shutterstock
Features
Some of the most embarrassing mistakes you can make in German
Education
Raising the bar for law & business in Germany
Photo: DPA
Business & Money
JobTalk: All you need to know about working in Germany
Photo: DPA
Features
The Local List Archive - Your guide to all things German
National
Share news tips with The Local Germany
Sponsored Article
CurrencyFair: Why it pays when making overseas transfers
Sponsored Article
Bilingual school turning education on its head
Latest news from The Local in Austria

More news from Austria at thelocal.at

Latest news from The Local in Switzerland

More news from Switzerland at thelocal.ch

Latest news from The Local in Denmark

More news from Denmark at thelocal.dk

Latest news from The Local in Spain

More news from Spain at thelocal.es

Latest news from The Local in France

More news from France at thelocal.fr

Latest news from The Local in Italy

More news from Italy at thelocal.it

Latest news from The Local in Norway

More news from Norway at thelocal.no

Latest news from The Local in Sweden

More news from Sweden at thelocal.se

3,282
jobs available
Toytown Germany
Germany's English-speaking crowd