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March 5, 2024

Lufthansa Faces Travel Disruptions as Ground Crew Strike Impacts Over 200,000 Passengers

Deutsche Lufthansa AG anticipates significant travel disruptions affecting more than 200,000 passengers due to the latest two-day strike by ground crews, intensifying pressure on the German airline to engage in negotiations. The strike, called by labor union Verdi over pay and working conditions, is expected to disrupt operations on Thursday and Friday.

Despite Lufthansa expressing its willingness to negotiate promptly, the strike was called after failed negotiations with Verdi. Ground crew members are part of Germany’s transport sector, which has witnessed multiple strikes recently over salary issues, compounded by staff shortages and high inflation rates.

The ongoing dispute has further exacerbated travel woes for passengers, as major German airports experienced disruptions three times last month due to strikes by security staff and ground crews across the country. The situation is compounded by an additional strike called by workers at Deutsche Bahn AG, the German railway, who are also advocating for improved working conditions.

Michael Niggemann, Lufthansa’s chief human resources officer, expressed concern over the union’s uncompromising stance, highlighting the detrimental impact on the company, passengers, and employees. Despite Lufthansa’s efforts to negotiate, Verdi announced on Monday that no agreement was reached during the fourth round of negotiations.

Verdi has put forth demands including a 12.5% salary increase and an additional €3,000 ($3,254.9) inflation bonus for ground staff. The next negotiation session is scheduled for March 13 and 14.

In response to the strike, Lufthansa accused Verdi of deliberately escalating the situation instead of seeking a resolution. To mitigate the impact of the strike, Lufthansa announced plans to implement a special flight schedule during the 59-hour warning strike.

Amidst the ongoing labor dispute, Lufthansa is set to report its earnings on Thursday, further adding to the complexity of the situation. As negotiations continue and disruptions persist, both the airline and the labor union are under pressure to find common ground to address the concerns of all stakeholders involved.

Rajan Shukla

Rajan Shukla

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