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STRIKES

New cabin crew strike set to hit ‘all Lufthansa flights’ from Germany

A German union on Monday said it had called on Lufthansa cabin crew to stage a strike on Thursday and Friday in an escalating battle for better pay and conditions.

New cabin crew strike set to hit 'all Lufthansa flights' from Germany
Lufthansa planes in Frankfurt on October 20th. Photo: DPA

The walkout, scheduled to start at 11 pm GMT on Wednesday and end on Friday at 11 pm GMT, “will affect all Lufthansa flights” scheduled to leave from German airports, said Daniel Flohr, deputy chairman of the UFO cabin crew union.

He said Lufthansa's “ongoing refusal” to negotiate with the union was to blame for the deepening row.

The union already staged a day-long warning strike on October 20th involving four smaller Lufthansa subsidiary airlines, causing dozens of flight cancellations for Eurowings, Germanwings, SunExpress and Lufthansa CityLine passengers.

READ ALSO: Cabin crew strike grounds flights across Germany

But the flagship Lufthansa airline was spared from the walkout after company bosses offered a surprise two-percent pay increase to avert strike action.

Since then however, UFO said no progress had been made on the union's other demands.

Flohr said further strike announcements could come “at any time”.

“We urgently ask Lufthansa officials to return to the negotiating table,” he added.

Lufthansa said it strongly condemned this week's planned walkout and said it was considering its legal options.

“We apologise to all affected passengers,” it said, adding that it was working on alternative flight plans.

The Lufthansa group slammed UFO's previous strike as “illegal”.

READ ALSO: Working in Germany: Should you join a trade union?

Bosses at the company 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 organisations.

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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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