Major but unrelated strike action across Germany and France has seen widespread disruption to air travel across the two countries. Lufthansa is reported to have had to cancel 800 out of 1,600 of its flights while strike action in France has reportedly cost Air France approximately $210 million.
Two separate strikes in Germany and France have affected tens of thousands of Lufthansa and Air France passengers this week, The Straits Times reports.
Germany’s flag carrier canceled half of its 1,600 regular scheduled flights thanks to the industrial action, which saw the country’s public sector workers – including airport staff – stage a walk-out that lasted from 5 a.m. local time to 6 p.m. local time on Tuesday. This short work stoppage, known as a “warning strike,” affected passengers at Frankfurt, Cologne, Munich and Bremen.
The strikes were staged by Verdi, one of Germany’s largest industrial unions, in the hopes of better pay conditions for its members, namely a six per cent increase in pay. Speaking at Frankfurt’s airport, Verdi leader Frank Bsirske said “when if not now should there be significant pay increases for workers, including those in the public sector.” He added, “We’re determined to achieve this.”
However, ADV, an airport operators’ association based in Berlin, said that the strikes were “lacking all proportionality.” It is believed that the action disrupted at least 90,000 journeys at Lufthansa.
In neighboring France, employees of the country’s flag carrier launched their sixth strike since February on Wednesday, an action that resulted in the cancellation of a quarter of its flights. According to the information given on its website, Air France has confirmed that about 60 percent of long-haul services will still be departing as scheduled.
The on-going strikes, staged by staff seeking a six per cent pay raise, are estimated to have cost the carrier €170 million ($210 million) to date.