More Labor Strikes Poised To Impact Planes and Trains in Germany

More Labor Strikes Poised To Impact Planes and Trains in Germany

by Mia Taylor
Last updated: 1:45 PM ET, Mon March 11, 2024

Travel chaos is on the horizon for Germany as airport and rail workers there have announced a new round of walk-outs.

The news comes just days after recent strikes there, which also led to disruption. Per Euronews, the country’s GDL union, which includes individuals who drive passenger and freight trains, was set to strike today and tomorrow. Passenger train drivers in particular were planning to begin their walk-out at 2 a.m. Tuesday, local time.

Meanwhile, at airports, Lufthansa’s cabin crew union is also preparing to strike. That labor action  is expected to take place at Frankfurt and Munich airports and will occur Tuesday and Wednesday this week. The cabin crew walkout will impact both Lufthansa flights and its subsidiary, Cityline, per Euronews.

Just last week, Germany’s Frankfurt Airport (FRA) closed to passengers with
departures scheduled for Thursday, March 7 in anticipation of several
worker strikes. Last week’s airport labor actions were led by the country’s Verdi union and involved security staff in addition to Lufthansa ground staff. Lufthansa is Germany‘s flag carrier and the second-largest airline in Europe when combined with its subsidiaries. Train drivers also held their own strikes across Germany last week.

Reasons for the Strikes

The country’s train drivers are striking over working hours and pay.  The union wants reduced working hours (from 38 to 35 per week) without a pay cut. The latest strike plans are the second in recent weeks. Last week the same union staged a 1.5-day walkout.

In attempt to resolve the union’s grievances, moderators have suggested reducing hours from 38 to 36 by 2028. The proposal was rejected by the union, which asked for a new offer by Sunday.  But that offer never materialized.

Trains run by private operators in Germany will not be impacted by the strike.

The cabin crew workers for Lufthansa are striking over demands for a 15 per cent pay increase and a requested inflation compensation payment. More than 96 per cent of the union’s members voted in favor of strike, Euronews reported.

Similar to the train strike, the airline workers strike follows a recent announcement from Lufthansa that its profits had doubled in 2023. Workers involved in the action are seeking a 12.5 per cent pay rise, as well as an inflation compensation bonus. Lufthansa rejected that demand and instead is offering to increase pay by at least 10 percent. The two sides have not reached an agreement. The union says 10 percent is not enough and that ground staff barely earn minimum wage.

Airport Impacts

The biggest impact of the cabin crew strikes called by the Independent Flight Attendants Organization (UFO) will be felt at Frankfurt and Munich airports, which are two of the country’s busiest.

Lufthansa has said about 100,000 travelers will likely have some impact to their travel plans, Euronews reported. The German union’s decision to strike comes on the heels of the airline announcing that it made record profits in 2023.
The labor action is expected to impact all departures from Frankfurt airport on Tuesday and all flights from Munich on Wednesday between 4 a.m. and 11 p.m.

The airline has issued a statement indicating that  “Passengers who will be affected by an irregularity will receive information about cancellations and rebooking options by email or in the Lufthansa app.”

Amid the ongoing labor actions, it’s also important to ensure that contact details any bookings with the airline are up to date so that the airline can reach you in the event of a delay or cancellation. It’s also a good idea to check the airline website for updates. Lufthansa’s X (formerly Twitter) account will also provide updates.

Flight that are cancelled because of the strikes can be rebooked free of charge.

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