German union wants Lufthansa wage deal this week as workers strike

Lufthansa aircraft parked at Frankfurt Airport. The trade union Verdi has once again called on Lufthansa ground staff to go on a warning strike. Boris Roessler/dpa
Lufthansa aircraft parked at Frankfurt Airport. The trade union Verdi has once again called on Lufthansa ground staff to go on a warning strike. Boris Roessler/dpa

German trade union Verdi wants to end the wage dispute with Lufthansa ground staff this week if possible, as workers walked off the job in a renewed strike on Tuesday.

"We have now proved twice that we can strike," Verdi negotiator Marvin Reschinsky told dpa on Tuesday.

Once again there is a high level of participation in the strikes, he said, meaning that even more flights were cancelled than in the first wave at the beginning of February. "It would therefore be wise to come to a conclusion now."

Germany's largest airline intended to fly 10% to 20% of its planned schedule of around 1,000 flights on Tuesday. During the first strike almost a fortnight ago, around 900 flights were cancelled and more than 100,000 passengers had to reschedule.

From the union's point of view, the round of negotiations scheduled for Wednesday at the Lufthansa headquarters in Frankfurt could well be extended to Thursday if a deal is within reach, Reschinsky said.

The mere fact that another date has been reserved for March does not mean that the union does not want to reach an agreement now, he added.

Verdi is demanding a 12.5% pay rise for the more than 20,000 employees as well as an inflation compensation bonus of €3,000 ($3,240) for a term of one year. Lufthansa recently offered the bonus and around 10% more pay for a term of 25 months.

The first salary increase is to take place in December 2024.

Verdi's Reschinsky again demanded a higher offer from the company. Compared to the pilots, the salary increases for ground staff offered so far were clearly too low, he said.

The comparison made by Lufthansa's head of human resources, Michael Niggemann, that the offer was in line with the agreement in the public sector did not hold water, he added.

"We don't have tight budgets at Lufthansa," the union negotiator said.

"And unlike in the public sector, employees still have a lot of catching up to do from the coronavirus era."

A woman holds a banner reading "The ground is Lufthansa too" as she takes part in a strike. The trade union Verdi has once again called on Lufthansa ground staff to go on a warning strike. Boris Roessler/dpa
A woman holds a banner reading "The ground is Lufthansa too" as she takes part in a strike. The trade union Verdi has once again called on Lufthansa ground staff to go on a warning strike. Boris Roessler/dpa
Passengers stand with their suitcases in front of the display board in Terminal 1 at Frankfurt Airport. The Verdi union has once again called on Lufthansa ground staff to go on a warning strike. Boris Roessler/dpa
Passengers stand with their suitcases in front of the display board in Terminal 1 at Frankfurt Airport. The Verdi union has once again called on Lufthansa ground staff to go on a warning strike. Boris Roessler/dpa