labels: Lufthansa, News reports
Lufthansa grounds aircraft, cancels flights as strike action spreads news
29 July 2008

Frankfurt, Germany: Deutsche Lufthansa AG announced it will ground at least nine aircraft on Tuesday even as the strike action launched by maintenance staff spread to various centres. It also announced cancellation of around 70 flights on the second day of an indefinite strike action by members of the Ver.di. trade union.

The strike action results from a demand for higher wages by employees. While the union seeks a 9.8 per cent pay hike over a year for around 50,000 workers, the carrier is offering a hike of 6.7 per cent over 21 months.

Lufthansa said though services to some domestic and European destinations were cancelled they represented just 'three per cent' of all scheduled flights by the carrier. It also said all long-haul flights were operating normally.

The German flag carrier said though about 5,000 maintenance, freight and catering staff had stopped work on Monday this had failed to disrupt about 1,946 flights.

According to the union, the strike action expanded to Berlin and Nuremberg airports on Tuesday, spreading from Hamburg and Frankfurt am Main on Monday. It said some employees at Munich and Leipzig airports also participated in the industrial action.

The union said that the focus of its action was not on inconveniencing travellers but on  increasing pressure on the carrier.

Union chief negotiator, Erhard Ott, said Monday, that the aim of the action was to ''increase the cost to the company.'' He pointed out that sourcing catering from other firms or grounding planes in other hangars was 'very pricey'.

He also pointed out that the carrier had already seen a decline in reservations in recent weeks as passengers booked with other carriers.

According to industry estimates, the strike action was likely to cost Lufthansa five million euros a day.

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Lufthansa grounds aircraft, cancels flights as strike action spreads