Deutsche Lufthansa cabin crews will begin a week of strikes with a nine-hour walkout in Frankfurt and Dusseldorf after talks with the German airline broke down over retirement terms.
The initial work stoppage is set for Friday from 2pm through 11pm, the UFO union said in a statement. Lufthansa scrapped 290 flights, or just under 10 per cent of its program for the day, including 23 long-haul services. The carrier has reserved 2,500 hotel rooms for any stranded passengers, as 37,500 customers are affected by cancellations.
Europe’s second-largest airline, which is based in Cologne and has its biggest airport hub in Frankfurt, is seeking to curb spending to sustain earnings while competing with discount airlines from across the region, such as Ryanair Holdings Plc, and full-service rivals from the Middle East. UFO rejected the airline’s latest offer on Thursday in a long-running dispute over the savings efforts.
The union reiterated Friday that the protest will continue through Nov. 13. Flight attendants based at other airports will strike Saturday, UFO said, without specifying locations. No halt is planned for Sunday, and Munich will be unaffected by walkouts through the weekend because of travelers returning at the end of school vacations in southern Germany.
The strike involves only the Lufthansa brand and not the CityLine, Germanwings, Eurowings, Air Dolomiti, Austrian Airlines, Swiss or Brussels Airlines divisions. Cancellations affect long-haul flights also on Saturday, and services to Beijing, Bangkok, Rio de Janeiro and Johannesburg have been dropped, according to Lufthansa’s website.
The flight attendants’ dispute mirrors one between Lufthansa and its pilots, whose strikes ended in September after a German court ruled the actions were an illegal protest against company plans to expand a low-cost unit.
The conflict may also reflect a larger power struggle among German labor groups. UFO says its total membership exceeds 13,000 flight attendants, including employees at charter-flight competitor Condor, though it doesn’t give a breakdown per company.
News by Bloomberg, edited by Hospitality Ireland