German labor union Ver.di called for Lufthansa’s ground staff to strike on Wednesday, February 7th, in a pay dispute, adding to ongoing transport strikes in the country.
On Monday, the Ver.di union announced its call for a strike by ground staff at Frankfurt, Munich, Hamburg, Berlin, and Duesseldorf airports, beginning at 4 a.m. on Wednesday.
The demand from the union encompasses a substantial pay increase of 12.5%, or a minimum boost of $539 monthly, intended to benefit nearly 25,000 employees.
These employees span a range of operational roles, including check-in, aircraft handling, maintenance, and freight services.
Lufthansa, faced with the impending strike, has begun preparations for a modified service schedule while expressing concerns over the timing and magnitude of the strike, considering it premature given the early stages of the dispute.
Just last week, Ver.di orchestrated a strike that saw security personnel at several of Germany’s key airports walking off the job, leading to extensive flight cancellations.
These short-duration “warning strikes” are a prevalent strategy during German contract negotiations.
The strike at Lufthansa coincides with a broader wave of labor unrest in the transport sector, affecting rail, air, and local transport services across Germany.
The strike on Friday saw 90,000 public transport workers ceasing operations to advocate for better working conditions.
Ver.di deputy chairwoman Christine Behle, in a Monday statement, said, “We have a dramatic shortage of labor in public transport and incredible pressure on employees. Buses and trains are canceled every day in all fare zones because there are not enough staff.”
The German train drivers’ union is also pushing for reduced working hours.
Following a five-day strike last month, dialogue has resumed between the GDL union and Deutsche Bahn, the state-owned railway operator, with an agreement to halt further strikes until March 3rd.