Lufthansa (LHAB) (LHA) is canceling virtually all of its flights at its hubs in Frankfurt (FRA) and Munich (MUC) on July 27, 2022 due to a strike called by ground staff.  

Trade union Verdi has called on ground staff employed by Lufthansa (LHAB) (LHA), around 20,000 people, to hold a full-day walkout as a “warning” in ongoing pay talks, running from 03:45 on July 27 until 06:00 on July 28.  

In total, Lufthansa (LHAB) (LHA) is canceling a total of 678 flights in Frankfurt, affecting 92,000 passengers, and 345 in Munich, affecting 42,000 passengers.  

The strike adds to ongoing travel disruption across Europe, which has seen a raft of flight cancellations and delays with the aviation industry struggling to rehire staff to meet travel demand following the pandemic. In addition, some groups of workers are now turning to strikes to push demand for higher pay amidst the tight labor market.  

Lufthansa (LHAB) (LHA) described the decision by the union to opt for strikes at this stage in pay negotiations as disproportionate.  

“The early escalation of a previously constructive collective bargaining round is causing enormous damage,” said Michael Niggemann, Chief Human Resources Officer at Deutsche Lufthansa AG. “It affects our passengers in particular, who are impacted during the peak travel season. And it is putting an additional heavy strain on our employees in an already difficult phase for air traffic.” 

Lufthansa (LHAB) (LHA) said it will try to rebook passengers but warned that availability is limited. 

When it called for the strikes on July 25, 2022, Verdi said members had rejected a pay offer from Lufthansa (LHAB) (LHA) because it wasn’t high enough to cover rising inflation and costs. 

The union has called for all staff to receive a pay increase of at least 350 euros per month. Lufthansa (LHAB) (LHA) has offered an increase of 250 euro per month, to be awarded in two stages, plus a percentage increase linked to company performance.  

“Those left working in ground and security after two years of massive job cuts due to the pandemic are doing their best to keep flights running,” Verdi explained. “But they are running out of steam, mainly because their employer is not doing anything to improve their situation.” 

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The International Air Transport Association (IATA) has called for action to retain and attract more ground handling staff.