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Lufthansa cancels half Tuesday’s flights due to Verdi strike

Lufthansa has canceled more than 800 flights planned for Tuesday, around half of its scheduled services, after public sector union Verdi said it was extending walkouts to airports.

Most of the cancellations are short-haul services, but 58 long-haul flights have also been scrapped, Lufthansa said.

Verdi, which is asking for a 6 percent pay rise for around 2.3 million employees in various public sector roles across Germany, earlier said ground staff and some fire services staff would be on strike on Tuesday at Frankfurt, Munich, Cologne and Bremen airports.

“Lufthansa must cancel more than 800 of its planned 1,600 flights tomorrow, including 58 long-distance services, because of the strike,” the group said in a statement, adding that around 90,000 passengers would be affected.

Service would be back to normal on Wednesday after the strike, which will see groups like support staff and airport firefighters walk off the job between 05:00 am and 6:00 pm local time (0300 to 1600 GMT), Lufthansa added.

Frankfurt airport – Germany’s largest – warned on its website of “significant delays and cancellations” affecting many airlines, asking travellers to check with their carrier whether their flight would go ahead before departure.

The Tuesday “warning strike” will also hit Munich, Cologne and Bremen airports, as well as local transport, kindergartens, rubbish collection and hospitals in several states like capital Berlin, Bavaria or North Rhine-Westphalia.

Major union Verdi said its walkouts between April 10 and 13 aim at “increasing pressure” on employers to “allow public sector workers a share in good economic performance” in Europe’s largest economy, where tax income has surged as the pace of growth has picked up.

Worker representatives at Verdi, teachers’ union GEW and civil servants’ federation DBB demand a 6.0-percent pay raise or a pay increase of at least 200 euros ($245.52) per month for the 2.3 million people working for Germany’s federal and local governments.

They have been encouraged by the success of powerful metalworkers’ union IG Metall, which wrung a 4.3-percent pay increase and a more generous right to temporarily go part-time out of bosses in a February deal.

A final round of talks between the public-sector unions and their employers is slated for April 15-16.

“Warning strikes” lasting a few hours are a traditional warm-up to sector-wide pay and conditions talks in Germany.

If negotiations fall through, unions can resort to more aggressive, longer-lasting types of walkout.


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