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STRIKES

Lufthansa cabin crew to strike at Germany’s busiest airports

German cabin crew union UFO urged members Monday to walk off their jobs at airline giant Lufthansa on October 20th, although the carrier contests its right to represent workers.

Lufthansa cabin crew to strike at Germany's busiest airports
Cabin crew union UFO during a strike in Cologne in 2016. Photo: DPA

“We call on all cabin crew… not to show up to work” between six and eleven am at Germany's two busiest hubs Frankfurt and Munich, UFO chairman Daniel Flohr said in a video message to staff.

At least five of the Lufthansa group's airlines — Lufthansa, Eurowings, Germanwings, Cityline and Sunexpress — would be hit by strikes for higher pay in the coming weeks, Flohr added.

It is still unclear exactly how many passengers and flights could be affected by the strikes on Sunday. Previous job walk-offs by cabin crews at Lufthansa and its subsidiaries has led to several flight cancellations.

READ ALSO: Pilots' strike pushes Lufthansa to cut 1,700 flights

Lufthansa told AFP it would “maintain its entire timetable”, calling UFO's call to strike “illegal”.

Bosses at the airline group believe UFO may no longer have the legal right to speak for workers and have challenged its status in court.

Internal disputes at the union have cost it members and support among cabin
crew, some of whom have now turned to other representative organizations.

Berlin daily Tagesspiegel on Monday called UFO a “half-dead” outfit.

“UFO is battling for its life,” agreed business daily Handelsblatt.

“With its far-reaching call for strikes, it wants to show members it remains capable of acting and is representing cabin crew interests.”

Lufthansa could also contest before a court whether UFO has the right to initiate a strike — potentially leaving the worker representatives on the hook for any resulting costs.

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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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