Eleven flights to and from the UK to Germany have been cancelled tomorrow morning due to a strike by the German-based Vereinigung Cockpit (VC) pilots’ union against Germanwings.
The union announced the immediate strike threat only hours before talks started today, during which an agreement for pilots could not be reached.
The industrial action will take place for six hours from 06.00 to 12.00 German time and will impact 116 of 164, or 70%, of its morning flights.
Around 15,000 passengers will be affected by the cancellations (UK ones listed below) with domestic flights affected the most, but people on those services will be able to use its railway network instead.
Aircraft leases and pilots from management will step in to operate flights from holiday destinations as the school holidays finish in Saxony and Thuringia.
Pilots are asking for changes to transitional benefits from the Lufthansa-owned Germanwings following an offer the airline group made in April.
The offer would provide all cockpit staff employed before 1 January 2014 with the option of early retirement from flight service including in the future, with the retirement age pushed up from 55 to 60. The average age of cockpit crew leaving Lufthansa is already 59 and likely to increase to 61 over several years.
Lufthansa had proposed today’s talks to resume negotiations and due to late notice said it could not avert the industrial action.
Dr Bettina Volkens, chief officer HR and legal at Deutsche Lufthansa AG said: “We are very disappointed that we cannot avert strike action. The impression given is that the Vereinigung Cockpit pilots’ union had already decided to strike. It is unrealistic to expect to reach agreement on a new model for sustainable transitional benefits in the course of a single day.
“The fact that an ultimatum for concluding a wage agreement was issued on the morning of negotiations – even though we made it clear that the talks would initially have to be about what form the further negotiation process should take – is very unusual and incomprehensible.”
Volkens said: “We will do everything to provide the best-possible service to Germanwings passengers and, if possible, to get them to their destination in spite of the strike.”
Outbound UK flights cancelled tomorrow morning (29 August)
Stansted-Cologne 4U355 and 4U359
Inbound UK flights cancelled
Cologne-Stansted 4U354 and 4U358
Flights leaving at midday may be subject to delays, with afternoon and evening departures currently due to operate as usual.