Lufthansa Strike Could Disrupt Moscow Flights

bloombergA Lufthansa airplane in Frankfurt. A planned strike is set to start on Monday.
Flights by Lufthansa, the German national flag carrier that flies to Moscow 10 times daily, are set to be affected by an open-ended strike starting Monday by a labor union that represents some 50,000 members of its work force.

The Ver.di labor union called the strike after 90.7 percent of its members at Lufthansa voted in favor of a walkout, it said in an e-mailed statement Friday. All the airline's main routes will be affected.

Lufthansa, which has been hit by a 44 percent hike in airplane fuel prices so far this year, and the union have failed to agree on a wage increase for the roughly 50,000 cabin staff and ground workers, such as check-in staff and technicians.

Ver.di is seeking a pay increase of 9.8 percent, while Lufthansa has offered an increase of 6.7 percent in two steps, according to the union.

"At the moment, we don't have an overview of the impact this [strike] will have on flight disruptions," Aage Dünhaupt, Lufthansa's director of corporate communications for Europe, said Friday.

"We do expect [that] Moscow should remain well connected to our hubs in Germany," he added, saying that the strike would mostly affect ground crew and catering staff, whose tasks Lufthansa is seeking to outsource during the work stoppage.

Dünhaupt said Lufthansa would make information about flight cancellations and delays available through its web site and customer service hotline. In case of disruptions, passengers would be rebooked on other flights, including those of its Star Alliance affiliates or nonaffiliated airlines, as soon as possible, Dünhaupt said.

MT, Bloomberg