Lufthansa Airlines canceled virtually all of its flights to and from Frankfurt and Munich on Wednesday, causing more than 130,000 travelers to scramble after about 3,000 workers quit their jobs to protest for better wages.
On Wednesday evening, the airline in Germany said it had reduced 678 flights to and from Frankfurt and 345 flights to and from its hub in Munich in the past 48 hours.
“Looking ahead to next weekend, the start of the holiday season in Bavaria and Baden-Württemberg, Lufthansa is working hard to return flight operations to normal as soon as possible,” the company said in a statement. The airline added that while it would try to rebook passengers on alternative flights, “the capacity available for this is very limited.”
According to Dennis Dacke, a United Services Trade Union official known as ver.di, the protest is expected to end at 6 a.m. Thursday.. As of Wednesday at 3:45 a.m., ground staff, customer service representatives, airport check-in agents and other “non-flying” Lufthansa employees belonging to ver.di have resigned from their jobs in Munich, Frankfurt, Berlin and other locations, he said. . If a Lufthansa agent picked up the phone to help someone rebook a flight, the agent was likely outside Germany, he added.
“The salaries are not high enough to explain inflation,” Dacke said explaining the protest. The union is pushing for a 9.5 percent pay increase for ground staff and a minimum wage of $13 an hour, or about $13 at current exchange rates, for logistics personnel.
In a statement, Lufthansa outlined pay increases it had already offered during “previously constructive collective bargaining” and lamented the impact on passengers “during peak seasons”. Flight attendants and pilots, who have their own unions, did not participate in the protest.
The cancellations also affected other airlines. Air Canada has merged two flights between Toronto and Frankfurt into one flight with a larger aircraft, the airline said.