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STRIKES

Germanwings pilots walkout for 12 hours

UPDATE: Hard on the heels of the train drivers’ strike, Germanwings pilots walked out on Thursday. The airline says around 100 flights - a fifth of its services - have been cancelled.

Germanwings pilots walkout for 12 hours
All was quiet in the Germanwings area of Stuttgart Airport. Photo: DPA

Pilots' union Vereinigung Cockpit (VC) announced on Wednesday that its members at Lufthansa subsidiary Germanwings would strike for 12 hours from midday on Thursday.

"We regret the inconvenience for passengers," VC said in a statement. "We call on Lufthansa to abandon its rigid stance and help resolve the conflict."

In Berlin’s Tegel Airport, around 40 flights have been cancelled.

A statement from the airline said it was hiring planes from other operators and offering passengers coupons for train services. 

It said it had sent out 13,000 emails and text messages to passengers to warn them of the industrial action. 

Germanwings warned on their website: “There will be considerable disruption and delays to all of Germanwings' operations.”

It asked passengers still hoping to travel to check their flight's status online.

Anyone whose flight has been cancelled can rebook or get their money back.

Pilots have been at odds with Lufthansa since April over their early retirement and pension arrangements.

SEE ALSO: Lufthansa strike hits 20,000 passengers

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CHRISTMAS

Strikes hit Amazon in Germany in the run up to Christmas

Around 2,500 Amazon employees at seven sites across Germany were on strike on Tuesday and unions warned stoppages could continue up to Christmas.

Amazon parcel in factory
A parcel rolls along a conveyor belt at an Amazon packing facility in Gera, Thuringia. Photo: picture alliance/dpa/dpa-Zentralbild | Bodo Schackow

The strikes at so-called “fulfilment” centres, where Amazon prepares packages before delivery, began in two locations on Monday.

The Verdi union is calling on Amazon for an “immediate” salary increase of three percent this year, followed by a further 1.7 percent next year, in line with a collective agreement for the retail sector, to which the e-commerce giant does not adhere.

Amazon could not continue to “refuse wage increases that other companies in the sector pay”, Verdi retail head Orhan Akman said in a statement Monday.

Amazon, which operates 17 centres in Germany, argues it is a logistics company, a sector in which the terms of work are considered to be less burdensome for the employer.

Amazon said it did not expect the strike to have an impact on clients.

However, a Verdi spokesman said the stoppage could cause disruption, particularly in Amazon’s rapid-delivery “Prime” offering.

Strikes were likely to continue “until the end of the year”, the spokesman said, impacting on the busy Christmas shopping period.

READ ALSO: 

Verdi, which first called for strikes at Amazon in May 2013, organised demonstrations outside the fulfilment centres on Tuesday to protest poor working conditions.

Amazon — which has seen its business boom during the coronavirus pandemic as consumers increasingly shopped online — announced in September that it would open eight new centres in Germany, creating 3,000 jobs by 2022.

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