• Germany's news in English
 
app_header_v3

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

Alex Evans · 3 Apr 2014, 08:50

Published: 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 news from Germany, join us on Facebook and Twitter.

Alex Evans (news@thelocal.de)

Your comments about this article

Today's headlines
400 arrests outside German far-right AfD party congress
"No rights for Nazi propaganda," cried one group of demonstrators. Photo: DPA

Clashes broke out between party members and left-wing protestors.

German public sector workers dispute settled
President of the Verdi union, Frank Bsirske (2nd from left) and Interior Minister Thomas de Maiziere (2nd from right) shake hands after the breakthrough. Photo: DPA

Threat of national disruptions lifted.

German women battle for 'no means no' in rape law
A woman carries a sign reading "no means no" at a demonstration in 2011. File photo: DPA

Germany has long lagged behind other advanced nations when it comes to laws on rape. As parliament discusses a new law, women are using increased public attention to the problem to demand real change.

Cologne mayor tells court of being stabbed in neck
Henriette Reker. Photo: DPA

Cologne Mayor Henriette Reker, described in court on Friday how she was attacked during campaigning last autumn and almost lost her life.

'I am truly sorry' says 96-year old Auschwitz SS guard
The accused being brought into court in a wheelchair on Friday. Photo: DPA

A 94-year-old former SS guard on trial for complicity in 170,000 murders at Auschwitz broke his silence Friday for the first time since the war, telling victims: "I am truly sorry".

Woman dies after weeks-long hostage ordeal
Police tape off an area of the farm house. Photo: DPA

A woman has died after being held against her will since March in a farmhouse in Lower Saxony and subjected to "brutal violence".

Boys, 8, go on two-day robbery spree at toy store
Photo: DPA

Two young children in Bavaria plundered a shop for toys worth hundreds of Euros. When police found out they coolly tried to give them the runaround.

Jet-setters rejoice: roaming price caps start Saturday
EU mobile users will soon be calling from Alicante to Zagreb at lower prices. Photo: DPA

Phoning and surfing while abroad is about to get a lot cheaper in the EU as new rules limiting how much mobile operators can charge come into force on Saturday.

Merkel party calls for state to spy on mosques
Photo: DPA

Authorities should be keeping an eye on the content of sermons in Germany's mosques, a senior member of Chancellor Angela Merkel's party has said.

Dieselgate scandal
VW targets return to profit despite year of scandal
A car on an elevator in one of the "Auto towers" at Volkswagen's Wolfsburg HQ. Photo: DPA

Embattled German carmaker Volkswagen vowed Thursday to overcome its current crisis triggered by the engine-rigging scandal, insisting it would not allow itself to be slowed down by the affair and would return to profit this year.

Sponsored Article
What's the best way for expats to transfer money abroad?
Culture
6 weird and wonderful ways Germans celebrate May 1st
Sponsored Article
Becoming an expat: where to start
Gallery
Feast your eyes on Germany in springtime bloom
National
4/20: Five things to know about weed in Germany
Sponsored Article
How to launch your international career
Berlin
Police break up hipster swarm at vegan restaurant opening
Politics
Merkel allows Erdogan case against German satirist to go ahead
Travel
7 of Germany's most jaw-dropping national parks
Hamburg
Gay penguins move to Hamburg to settle down
Business & Money
See-through €5 coin has collectors lining up
Health
Vegan hemp powder recalled over fear toddlers getting high
International
6 ways Mexico and Germany are secretly the best of friends
Munich
Drunk man falls onto tracks, 3 trains pass before anyone notices
Culture
The 7 most German things that happened at the 'German Grammys'
National
Could Germany ban diesel cars from city centres?
Travel
Eight things you never knew about the German Autobahn
Society
Police force naked driver to trek to brothel on foot
National
Bavarian town finally strips Hitler of honorary citizenship
Society
Brandenburg faces wrath of Flying Spaghetti Monster
International
German retiree 'fed to dog' by Russian wife in Mallorca
National
Ordinary Germans toast love online in face of Brussels bombings
National
Germany calls for "strength in unity" after Brussels bombings
7,888
jobs available
Toytown Germany
Germany's English-speaking crowd