By Damian Brett
Lufthansa Cargo ALFH B777F Source: Lufthansa Cargo
Lufthansa Cargo ground workers are tomorrow set to join strike action being called by Germany’s ver.di union.
The union has called on the 20,000 Lufthansa ground workers it represents to take part in a strike running from 03:45hrs on Wednesday until 06:00hrs on Thursday over pay.
Ver.di is currently negotiating for the approximately 20,000 employees at Lufthansa AG Boden, Lufthansa Technik, Lufthansa Systems, Lufthansa Technik Logistik Services (LTLS), Lufthansa Cargo and Lufthansa Service Gesellschaft (LSG) as well as Lufthansa Engineering and Operational Services (LEOS).
A Lufthansa Cargo spokesperson said it is monitoring the situation very closely and taking measures to maintain cargo operations for our customers in the best possible way.
“We are in close communication with all parties involved in order to avoid delays or flight cancellations of freighters. However, it is currently difficult to estimate how many of our ground employees at Lufthansa Cargo will respond to the strike call,” they said.
“Lufthansa Airlines has significantly reduced its flight schedule for Tuesday and Wednesday.
“Given these circumstances, shipments booked to be transported during the strike period as belly cargo will be rebooked.”
Lufthansa Cargo’s freighter connections are expected to operate as scheduled, provided no operational adjustments become necessary at short notice.
“Traditionally, Lufthansa Cargo stands for reliability and team cohesion,” the spokesperson added.
In Frankfurt, a total of 678 flights will have to be canceled, including 32 already today (Tuesday) and 646 on Wednesday.
At the Munich hub, a total of 345 flights will have to be canceled, 15 of them already today (Tuesday) and 330 on Wednesday.
The effects of the strike may still lead to individual flight cancellations or delays on Thursday and Friday, Lufthansa warned.
The union warned of disruption: “Since all ground workers, including Lufthansa Technik responsible for maintenance and the LEOS employees who use pushback vehicles to ensure that the aircraft are pushed back into the appropriate positions, are called on to go on warning strike, there will be major flight cancellations and delays come.”
Ver.di is demanding a salary increase to reflect the current working conditions being faced by the staff but has so far rejected offers from Lufthansa.
“The ground handling services and security forces that remain after two years of the pandemic, including massive job cuts, are doing their best every day to keep air traffic going. But the workers are out of breath. Mainly because their employers hardly do anything to improve their situation,” the union said.
It added: “The situation at the airports is escalating; the overburdening of employees due to a significant shortage of staff, high inflation and a three-year wage cut would put the employees under increasing pressure.”
In response, Deutsche Lufthansa chief officer human resources added: “After only two days of negotiations, ver.di has announced a strike that can hardly be called a warning strike due to its breadth across all locations and its duration.
“This is all the more incomprehensible given that the employer side has offered high and socially balanced pay increases – despite the continuing tense economic situation for Lufthansa following the Covid crisis, high debt burdens and uncertain prospects for the global economy.
“After the enormous efforts to stabilize our flight operations, this represents a renewed, substantial and unnecessary burden for our passengers and also for our employees beyond the strike day.”
Negotiations are set to restart on August 3 and 4.