Flights disrupted across Germany as Lufthansa ground staff strike begins

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DPA/The Local - [email protected]
Flights disrupted across Germany as Lufthansa ground staff strike begins
Passengers wait early in the morning at Frankfurt airport during the strike. Photo: picture alliance/dpa | Frank Rumpenhorst

A strike by ground crew staff at airline giant Lufthansa has hit several German airports. At least 134,000 passengers are affected, with disruption expected to last all week.


As the strike got underway on Wednesday morning, most of Lufthansa's planes remained grounded.

The strike was called by trade union Verdi as it fights for higher wages for around 20,000 staff amid rising inflation and chaotic conditions in the aviation industry.

READ ALSO: What to know about Lufthansa ground staff strike at German airports

As The Local has been reporting, flights are routinely being cancelled, luggage is going missing and there are long waits at airports this summer.

These problems are mainly down to crippling staff shortages after companies got rid of staff during the pandemic, or workers left to find other jobs.


Who's affected?

Lufthansa has cancelled more than 1,000 flights at its Frankfurt and Munich hubs this week as a precautionary measure. The airline fears more cancellations and delays until Friday, the last school day before the summer holidays in Bavaria.

A total of 134,000 passengers so far have had to change their travel plans or cancel them altogether. On Tuesday at least 47 connections were cancelled. 

The departure board at Dresden airport on Wednesday shows cancellations.

The departure board at Dresden airport on Wednesday shows cancellations. Photo: picture alliance/dpa | Sebastian Kahnert

In addition to the 1,023 cancelled flights with LH flight numbers, connections with sister companies such as Swiss, Austrian and Air Dolomiti may be cancelled too, as they are handled by Lufthansa ground staff. The direct flight subsidiary Eurowings, which is not on strike, said it was running largely normal flight operations throughout the network.

Lufthansa advised affected passengers not to come to the airports because most of the counters there are not being manned.

In previous industrial action, the terminals remained largely empty on the day of the strike itself.

According to Verdi, workers at the Frankfurt and Munich hubs as well as in Düsseldorf, Hamburg, Berlin, Bremen, Hanover, Stuttgart and Cologne have been on strike since 3.45am on Wednesday.

READ ALSO: Strike – Lufthansa to cancel almost all flights in Germany

Employees called out on strike include counter staff, aircraft technicians and the drivers that move aircraft to the right positions at the airport.

The strike is expected to last until 6am on Thursday. Verdi has called for rallies at Frankfurt, Hamburg and Munich airports.

Lufthansa and Verdi have held two rounds of talks on the future salaries and working conditions of the approximately 20,000 ground staff. A third meeting is scheduled for August 3rd-4th in Frankfurt.

Verdi rejected a first offer from Lufthansa as too low. The union is seeking a 9.5-percent pay rise, or at least €350 per month. It also wants a minimum hourly wage of €13 for staff.


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