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STRIKES

Flight cancellations as Eurowings employees strike in Düsseldorf

Eurowings passengers at Düsseldorf Airport can expect flight cancellations on Tuesday. During a warning strike, employees of the Lufthansa subsidiary stopped working this morning, now affecting 26 flights.

Flight cancellations as Eurowings employees strike in Düsseldorf
Photo: DPA

While the customers had been informed in advance, the ticket counters were still staffed with more employees than usual for security reasons.

“The situation in the terminal is calm”, said an airport spokeswoman.

Eurowings advised passengers to arrive at the airport in advance, as there could be delays at check-in and in the security area.

In the wage dispute with the airline, the Verdi union had called on the cabin crews of the airlines Eurowings and LGW to go on a warning strike from 4:30 a.m. to 12:30 noon. Verdi spokesman Volker Nüsse said there had already been a good turnout early on Tuesday morning. “We are very determined and combative.”

According to the union, Eurowings employs 500 of the more than 1000 cabin workers at its main location in Düsseldorf. The aviation company Walter (LGW) has been an operational unit of Eurowings since it was purchased by Lufthansa in October 2017. The strikes also affect LGW.

Passengers should inform themselves in advance at www.eurowings.com, by logging on to the Eurowings app or via the airline’s hotline (+49 180 6 320 320) about whether their flight is taking place. 

In a press release, however, the airline had stressed that it was “able to carry out the vast majority of its flights in Düsseldorf.” Other locations are therefore not affected.

The action is happening because of the refusal by employers to meet employees' calls in the current collective bargaining, the union Verdi explained. Among other things, it demands reliable staff rosters, better working and standby times, and a strong workers’ council.

Eurowings contradicts collective agreements, the union has complained, with service shifts lasting longer than they legally should.

Eurowings, for its part, condemned the union's actions. The call for a strike was made despite the fact that the airline had already arranged the next meetings with Verdi. “This behaviour is no longer comprehensible to anyone,” the company said.

The negotiations with LGW are about an employment guarantee and the salaries of about 350 flight attendants. Verdi criticizes the company for refusing further negotiations.

At the end of October, negotiations on a severance scheme for around 200 flight attendants at Berlin-Tegel failed. The former Air Berlin subsidiary LGW plans to close the station next year.

 

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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.

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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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