Strike causes “massive” disruption for Lufthansa

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Lufthansa was forced to cancel almost all of its flights on Monday, as the airline’s workforce went on strike.

Germany’s national carrier admitted to suffering “massive flight cancellations and delays” on Monday after members of the ver.di union downed tools in protest at the airline’s restructuring plans.

Lufthansa only operated around 43 flights yesterday
Lufthansa only operated around 43 flights yesterday

Of the 50 long-haul flights Lufthansa planned to operate from Frankfurt yesterday, only six operated as scheduled, while only three of the 17 long-haul services from Munich took off. In terms of short-haul services, only 20 of the 1,650 planned Lufthansa flights operated on Monday.

The action came as the ver.di union continued its spate of industrial action intended to put pressure on the carrier to reconsider its SCORE cost-cutting plan, which will see the reduction of 3,500 jobs. It is also asking for an average 5.2% pay rise for its 33,000 workers over the next 12 months. Lufthansa has rejected the demands.

A spokesperson for the airline was reported by Bloomberg as saying that Monday’s action “goes way beyond a warning strike”. Earlier this month, Lufthansa workers staged a half-day strike forcing the airline to cancel most of its short-haul flights.

First announced in 2011, SCORE was attributed to having saved the airline EUR618 million (US$806m) in 2012 – its first full year of implementation. It involves a range of measures, including coordinating flight plans with partner airlines, adjusting capacities and reducing staff costs. Despite this however, Lufthansa’s operating profits still slumped 36.1% last year, to EUR524m.

At least nine more services have already been confirmed as cancelled today (23 April 2013), as a knock-on effect of yesterday’s action. These include flights from Qingdao to Shenyang in China, and the return services from Nanjing to Frankfurt and Paris to Dusseldorf.

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