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Lufthansa slashes Friday flights

Update: Lufthansa said Thursday it expects to cancel 700 short- and medium-haul flights on Friday as its pilots stage a walkout for the third consecutive day.

Lufthansa slashes Friday flights
Photo: DPA

The pilots' union Vereinigung Cockpit "has called another strike for tomorrow on short- and medium-haul flights. That is the third strike in three days," Lufthansa said in a statement.

"As a result, we will cancel 50 percent of all 1,400 flights scheduled for tomorrow, affecting 84,000 passengers."

In addition, a strike by air traffic controllers in Italy – completely separate from the pilots' strike — would result in the cancellation of a further 90 flights affecting 10,000 passengers, the statement said.

Lufthansa said its long-haul services would not be affected and would take off as scheduled.

"All flights by Germanwings, Eurowings and Air Dolomiti, as well as Swiss, Austrian Airlines and Brussels Airlines will go ahead as planned," the carrier said.

"Despite the strike, around 75 percent of a total 3,000 daily flights will go ahead," it said.

The pilots' union Cockpit had initially called for 24-hour walkout on Wednesday, but subsequently extended the industrial action, first to Thursday and then to Friday.

On Wednesday, the stoppages had targeted short- and medium-haul services.

But long-haul flights were grounded on Thursday. And Cockpit said it would target short- and medium haul flights again on Friday.

On Wednesday, some 750 flights had been grounded affecting 80,000 passengers.

On Thursday, 84 long-haul flights out of a total 153 taking off from Germany were hit, grounding 18,000 passengers.

Cockpit has staged more than a dozen sets of strike action since last April over management plans to change the pilots' early retirement arrangements.

The dispute hinges on plans by Lufthansa to scrap an arrangement under which pilots can retire at 55 and receive up to 60 percent of their pay until they reach the statutory retirement age of 65.

Pilots are also concerned about Lufthansa's aim to further develop its low-cost activities as it faces growing competition. 

SEE ALSO: Pilots' strike grounds 750 Lufthansa flights

 

 

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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