• 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)

Your comments about this article

Today's headlines
UN climate talks shuffle to a close in Bonn
Photo: DPA

UN climate talks shuffle to a close in Bonn

Concern was high at a perceived lack of urgency as UN climate negotiations shuffled towards a close in Bonn on Saturday with just 14 months left to finalise a new, global pact. READ  

Berlin slams Italy Nazi claims court ruling
Italy's National Partisans' Association welcomed the court decision. Photo: DPA

Berlin slams Italy Nazi claims court ruling

Italy's constitutional court has ruled that victims of Nazi-era war crimes can sue Germany in Italian courts, rejecting a UN ruling and provoking a strong reaction from Berlin on Friday. READ  

Expats reveal another side of Berlin Wall
Photo: Paul Sullivan

Expats reveal another side of Berlin Wall

Two expats who walked the Mauerweg - the 160-kilometre trail that runs the length of the former Berlin Wall - have written a book about forgotten aspects of its past and present. READ  

Karstadt closes six stores to stay afloat
Photo: DPA

Karstadt closes six stores to stay afloat

Germany's biggest department store chain Karstadt will close at least six stores, putting around 2,000 jobs at risk, in a drastic bid by its new boss to return it to profit. READ  

Quiz
How well do you know Germany?
Photos: DPA/Shutterstock

How well do you know Germany?

Do you know your Saxony facts from your Saxony-Anhalt ones? Test your knowledge of Germany's federal states in The Local's quiz. READ  

Climate chief hails Bonn greenhouse gas deal
Pollution from a coal-fired power station in Frimmersdorf, North Rhine-Westphalia. Photo: DPA

Climate chief hails Bonn greenhouse gas deal

The UN's climate chief hailed a European agreement in Bonn on greenhouse gases on Friday as providing "valuable momentum" for a world pact to be inked in Paris next year. READ  

Germany gets €780m EU rebate for poor growth
Photo: DPA

Germany gets €780m EU rebate for poor growth

Germany will get an early Christmas present of around €779 million from the EU, thanks to weaker than expected GDP growth. READ  

Stay inside after blast, Ludwigshafen told
Photo: DPA

Stay inside after blast, Ludwigshafen told

It will take several days to find out what caused a massive explosion on Thursday which rocked a town on the Rhine, killing a builder and injuring 26 others. READ  

German helicopter fleet 'not fit for Nato'
An NH90 helicopter. Photo: DPA

German helicopter fleet 'not fit for Nato'

Germany's fleet of NH90 helicopters is undergoing engineering checks after one of them suffered a serious engine failure, in the latest blow to the country's military capabilities. READ  

Ex-boss of Berlin Airport farce gets €1.2m
Rainer Schwarz at a court hearing in September into the case. Photo: DPA

Ex-boss of Berlin Airport farce gets €1.2m

The man who was blamed for Berlin's miserable attempt to build a new airport must be paid more than €1 million - after being fired. READ  

RECEIVE OUR NEWSLETTER AND ALERTS
Photo: DPA
Politics
Satirist lives the dream on EU gravy train
Photo: DPA
Gallery
PHOTOS: Huge explosion rocks Ludwigshafen
Photo: DPA/Shutterstock
Gallery
Which high school cliche is your German city?
Photo: DPA
Gallery
Storm hits southern Germany
Sponsored Article
An international school unlike any other : School on the Rhine
Photo: Fitzpatrick family
Society
'We still don't know what happened to Matthew'
Photo: Mariana Schroeder
Munich
Special Report: Hope and chaos at Munich's refugee shelters
Photo: DPA
Culture
Can you top our history quiz leaderboard?
Photo: DPA/Shutterstock
Gallery
11 things Germans are afraid of...
Photo: DPA
Business & Money
JobTalk: All you need to know about working in Germany
National
Share news tips with The Local Germany
Sponsored Article
Bilingual education from nursery to graduation at Phorms
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

3,524
jobs available
Toytown Germany
Germany's English-speaking crowd