Lufthansa will be forced to find another way to work towards higher profits than a two-year pay freeze and longer hours for employees -- unless it fancies a series of labor outburst and customer cancellations.
Deutsche Lufthansa AG scrapped most short-haul flights and some inter-continental services scheduled for tomorrow morning as cabin crew and ground personnel prepare to strike over pay.
Lufthansa staff in Frankfurt, Munich, Hamburg, Dusseldorf, Cologne and Berlin are being encouraged to walk out as the Ver. di union seeks a 5.2 percent pay boost and more job security for 33,000 people at airline, IT, catering and maintenance units.
“We have canceled most German domestic and European flights between 5 a.m. and noon,” Lufthansa spokeswoman Mi-Kyung Lee said, adding that long-haul trips will operate as the situation allows. Its website listed 498 cancellations as of 1 p.m. in Frankfurt, with a service to Beijing among those lost.
Lufthansa Chief Executive Officer Christoph Franz is facing resistance as he tries to push through an efficiency program aimed at lifting operating profit to 2.3 billion euros ($3 billion) by 2015. Planned measures include 3,500 job losses and a two-year pay freeze for ground workers.
The proposals amount to a “provocation,” Christine Behle, who sits on Ver.di’s federal executive board, said in a statement. Behle will succeed the union’s chairman, Frank Bsirske, on Lufthansa’s supervisory board after Europe’s second- biggest airline holds its annual meeting in Cologne on May 7.
Editors: Chris Jasper and Benedikt Kammel.
To contact the reporter on this story: Richard Weiss in Frankfurt at email@example.com. To contact the editor responsible for this story: Benedikt Kammel at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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Photo credit: A Lufthansa Boeing 737 moves towards the gate at Dusseldorf Airport. Axel Schwenke / Flickr