Lufthansa claims strike having limited effect
Lufthansa has said that the effects of a staff walkout by members of the Verdi union are having only a minor effect on its servicesBerlin -- German national carrier Lufthansa claimed its flights were proceeding normally at airports across Germany Monday, hours after cabin and ground staff began a strike for more pay.
Lufthansa spokesman Klaus Walther told national public television ZDF shortly after 7 am that around 100 flights had taken off with at worst short delays. He called on the large services union Verdi to return to talks with Germany's largest airline.
The strike, which began at midnight, targeted the main hubs at Frankfurt and Hamburg although Munich, Dusseldorf and Cologne-Bonn were also affected.
Verdi said its main aim was not to cause cancellations but to hit the company financially. It is demanding a substantial pay rise for 50,000 workers.
Lufthansa said it had taken emergency measures, transferring passengers to other flights, shifting staff to cover gaps and possibly using the catering services of other airlines. It added that the tickets of domestic passengers could be used on the national rail network.
Pilots were not involved in the strike. In a separate strike, pilots at two Lufthansa subsidiaries came out on strike for 36 hours last week, causing 900 flights to be cancelled.
Lufthansa has offered 6.7 per cent more pay over a 21-month contract plus a one-off payment. Verdi, Germany's second-largest union with 2.2 million members, is demanding 9.8-per-cent raises over 12 months.
As the strike began, it was unclear how many workers would heed the call to walk off their jobs. A smaller union, UFO, which claims 10,000 members, was not participating in the strike.
Verdi spokesman Harald Reutter said the union wanted to hit Lufthansa financially by forcing the company to outsource catering and maintenance.
"That would really cost money," Reutter said Sunday.
The strike coincides with increasing pressure on airlines facing high fuel bills and pressure to spend money on environmental problems, to which air travel is a major contributor.