Lufthansa cancels 800 flights as pilots strike over better pay

Pilots of Germany’s biggest carrier stage a one-day strike over pay, affecting more than 100,000 passengers.

Hundreds of Lufthansa flights have been cancelled as pilots stage a one-day strike to press their demands for better pay and conditions at Germany’s biggest carrier.

The airline said about 800 flights were grounded at its two biggest hubs, Frankfurt and Munich, on Friday due to the walkout. More than 100,000 passengers would be affected, it said.

Lufthansa said it had offered a one-off increase of 900 euros ($900), amounting to a five-percent increase for senior pilots and an 18-percent increase for those starting the profession.

“Lufthansa is working flat out to return flight operations to normal as soon as possible,” it said in a statement.

Michael Niggemann, the Lufthansa executive board member responsible for human resources, said the German carrier had made a good, balanced offer during talks and the strike would inconvenience several thousand customers.

“We want solutions at the negotiating table,” he said, adding that Lufthansa’s offers were a good basis for continuing talks.

A flight schedule board shows cancelled flights of German air carrier Lufthansa  [Reuters/Kai Pfaffenbach]

The pilots’ union, Vereinigung Cockpit (VC), had called for a 5.5-percent raise this year and an automatic above-inflation increase in 2023.

In addition, pilots are seeking a new pay and holiday structure that the airline said would increase its staffing costs by about 40 percent, or about 900 million euros ($900m) over two years.

“We have not received a sufficient offer today, either. This is sobering and a missed opportunity,” said VC spokesperson Matthias Baier.

Strikes are a common tactic in labour disputes in Germany, where powerful unions have traditionally ensured good conditions for workers.

Germany has seen the highest inflation in decades this year amid a steep rise in energy prices.

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