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STRIKES

Over 180 Germanwings flights slashed as cabin crew strike continues

Cabin crew at Lufthansa subsidiary Germanwings began a planned three-day strike Monday, with their union warning the industrial dispute could last longer.

Over 180 Germanwings flights slashed as cabin crew strike continues
A departure sign at Cologne's airport shows shows flights which have been cancelled. Photo: DPA

Daniel Flohr, deputy head of air stewards' union UFO, told public broadcaster ZDF “we could prolong it at short notice” short of concessions from bosses, although “we don't want that”.

A live list on the carrier's website showed 182 flights between major German cities like Berlin, Cologne, Hamburg and Munich were slashed as UFO called members off the job. As of Monday at 1 pm, 60 flights had been cut.

Some connections to cities in neighbouring Austria and Switzerland, including Zurich and Vienna, were also cut.

READ ALSO: When are airline passengers in Germany entitled to flight compensation?

Set to be folded into Eurowings over the long term, Germanwings operates flights on behalf of the larger Lufthansa subsidiary.

Approximately 15 percent of Germanwings flights will be cancelled or have been cancelled as a result of the strike, a company spokeswoman told the DPA.

“Of the planned 1200 flights during the strike, over 1000 will still be in operation,” said the spokesperson.

With a relatively small number of departures affected, there was little sign of the travel chaos that has accompanied previous broader-based strikes, and many travellers were able to book alternative flights.

Frankfurt airport — Germany's largest — said on its website it was a “normal day” with “occasional short waits at security checks”.

Germanwings bosses judge the strike over rules governing part-time work unjustified.

The labour dispute has already seen a short “warning strike” at four Lufthansa subsidiaries, while the group's flagship airline suffered a two-day walkout affecting 1,500 flights and 200,000 passengers in November.

After failed preliminary talks for an arbitration, UFO called for a strike of Germanwings flight attendants on Friday.

However Ufo warmed that “we fear that three days will not be enough,” said the union in a letter to its members, which was submitted to DPA.

READ ALSO: German union vow Lufthansa strike “in coming days”

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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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