Lufthansa’s Striking Pilots Cause Summer Holiday Chaos

Lufthansa Airlines logo at Chicago O'Hare airport
Runner1928, CC BY-SA 4.0, via Wikimedia Commons

LONDON – As a result of stalling pay talks between the pilots union Vereinigung Cockpit (VC), Lufthansa pilots will stage a 24 hour walk out across both passenger and cargo services this week. 

VC have announced that from 00:01 to 23:59 CST, a pilots strike will take place. This, in the middle of one of the busiest periods of the year, as travellers are set to return home towards the end of the summer holidays.

The strike will affect both Lufthansa and Lufthansa Cargo departures from both German hubs, Frankfurt and Munich. Approximately 800 flights will be halted today, Friday September 2. 130,000 passengers are set to be affected at a very inconvenient time. The airline has said it is doing everything possible to reduce effects of the strike, but cannot rule out disruption over the weekend.

If you are unfortunate enough to have an affected flight, then you will be informed immediately and be re booked onto an alternative flight where possible. 

VC is holding firm for a 5.5 percent pay rise for its 5,000 pilot members, which at present, Lufthansa is reluctant to agree to. A spokesman for Lufthansa said: “We cannot bear the cost increases associated with VCs demands”

Unfortunately for the German National carrier, it is no stranger to disruption this year. It has cancelled numerous flights already due to staff shortages that has seen thousands of flights removed from their boards and resulting in huge queues at major airports throughout the summer. 

Lufthansa statement

Michael Niggemann Chief Human Resources Officer and Labour Director of Deutsche Lufthansa says: “We cannot understand VC’s call for a strike. The management has made a very good and socially balanced offer – despite the continuing burdens of the Covid crisis and uncertain prospects for the global economy. This escalation comes at the expense of many thousands of customers.”

The offer Niggeman is referring to is that of the 900 euros additional in basic salary a month, to be paid in two stages over an 18 month term that has been put to its employees. 

The nine hundred euros will benefit entry level pilots as it translates into over eighteen percent across the duration of the agreement. However pilots a bit longer in the tooth will receive only five percent over the course of the duration. 

Lufthansa has already shown that it is able to offer out good pay deals, given it’s recent deal offered to twenty thousand ground staff. A deal that saw the staff agree to a two hundred euro payment backdated to July 2022, a further 2.5 percent of at least €125 a month from January 2023, and then another 2.5 percent again from July 2023. 

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