On the strength of rising flight demand, Europe’s largest airline returned to profitability in the second quarter.
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Lufthansa union calls one-day strike
After staffing shortages forced tens of thousands of flights to be canceled earlier in 2022, Deutsche Lufthansa’s ground crew union announced a strike for Wednesday.
The Verdi labor union requested that its members participate in industrial action at Lufthansa’s German airport sites, which could result in the departure of check-in agents and other employees over salary and working conditions.
The union said in a statement on Monday that Verdi planned the one-day walkout to put pressure on the employer to make a significantly improved and reasonable compensation offer in the upcoming round of negotiations.
The decision is probably going to make Lufthansa’s predicament worse as it struggles to meet the dual demands of a fast comeback in ticket bookings and the impact of skyrocketing inflation on pay packets. Weeks of inconvenience have been experienced by travelers at airports and airlines throughout Europe as frequent staff shortages cause flight delays and cancellations.
When questioned about the labor conflict, German Finance Minister Christian Lindner stated it should be settled through customary processes for collective bargaining.
At a news conference in Berlin, Lindner stated, “I hope and I am convinced that all those engaged are conscious of their specific duty for the mobility of residents.”
While Ryanair and other competitors have been caught in strikes, Lufthansa had so far managed to escape them. However, now the unions are turning on the airline’s management.
Voters in the VC pilots union of Lufthansa are debating whether to go on their own strike, which would surely result in a significant reduction in regularly scheduled flights.
“This means a continued, significant, and unnecessary hardship for our passengers and also for our employees, stretching beyond the day of the strike itself,” said Michael Niggemann, a board member of Lufthansa who is in charge of human resources.
In order to reduce debt, CEO Carsten Spohr has promised to increase earnings before interest and tax to at least 8% by 2024.
As he seeks to strike a compromise between the need for increased workers and his aim for lower expenses, disputes with worker reps indicate Spohr would have problems meeting those targets.
However, the airline claimed earlier in July that it had returned to profitability in the second quarter thanks to the industry’s imposed price increases and seat supply restrictions due to the sector’s growing travel demand.