Lufthansa strike 2022: when will ground staff walk out, why are they striking, will it impact UK flights?

German union ver.di is calling for 9.5% pay increase after rejecting an offer for 2% from Lufthansa

German union ver.di has called on Lufthansa ground staff to walk out in a one-day strike due to an ongoing dispute over pay for about 20,000 employees of logistical, technical and cargo subsidiaries of the airline.

The aim of the strike is to raise the pressure on Lufthansa ahead of the next round of negotiations, set to be held at the beginning of next month.

This is what you need to know.

When is the strike taking place?

Ver.di has called on staff to walk out on Wednesday (27 July) morning in what has been described as a “warning strike”.

In a statement from the union, the strike is due to begin at 3:45am and will end on Thursday morning (28 July) at 6am.

Parked aircrafts operated by German airline Lufthansa are pictured at Berlin Brandenburg BER airport Willy-Brandt in Schoenefeld near Berlin on February 20, 2021. (Photo by TOBIAS SCHWARZ/AFP via Getty Images)

The strike will affect all Lufthansa locations, including Frankfurt, Düsseldorf, Cologne, Hamburg, Munich and Berlin.

“Since all ground workers, including Lufthansa Technik, are responsible for maintenance and the LEOS employees who use pushback vehicles to ensure that the aircraft are pushed back into the appropriate positions, are called on to go on warning strike, there will be major flight cancellations and delays,” ver.di said.

Why are Lufthansa staff striking?

The strike has been called by ver.di over an ongoing pay dispute, with the union demanding a 9.5% pay increase this year.

Lufthansa has offered a 2% increase from mid-2023, dependent on the company’s financial results, and an increase of 150 euros per month for the rest of this year, plus another 100 euros from the start of 2023.

Ver.di rejected the offer, stating that it “does not even come close to compensating for inflation, and in view of the current price increases, this would mean a significant loss of real wages for employees”.

Travellers check-in for Lufthansa flights at the Tom Bradley International Terminal (TBIT) amidst travel restrictions during the Covid-19 pandemic (Photo by PATRICK T. FALLON/AFP via Getty Images)

Ver.di deputy chief and negotiator Christine Behl said: “In the second round of negotiations, the employees, who are exposed to enormous pressure every day, were waiting for a strong signal that could have resulted in a good result.

“They urgently need more money and they need relief - for themselves and for the passengers. The employer’s offer is not sufficient for this.”

According to ver.di, the next round of negotiations is set to take place on 3 and 4 August, in Frankfurt.

Further negotiations will be held at the beginning of August (Photo by TOBIAS SCHWARZ/AFP via Getty Images)

Lufthansa human resources chief Michael Niggemann said: “After only two days of negotiations, ver.di has announced a strike that can hardly be called a warning strike due to its breadth across all locations and its duration.

“This is all the more incomprehensible given that the employer side has offered high and socially balanced pay increases – despite the continuing tense economic situation for Lufthansa following the Covid crisis, high debt burdens and uncertain prospects for the global economy.

“After the enormous efforts to stabilise our flight operations, this represents a renewed, substantial and unnecessary burden for our passengers and also for our employees beyond the strike day.”

Will UK flights be affected?

Ver.di has said to expect major cancellations and delays as a result of the strike, although it’s currently unclear how much UK flights will be affected.

An update on the Lufthansa website states that more information about cancellations and “further flight schedule changes” will be published by Monday (25 July) evening.

What do I do if I’m affected by the strike?

If you’re concerned about a flight that might be affected by the Lufthansa strike, you should continuously check the status of your flight on the Lufthansa website for any updates or changes.

The Lufthansa website says: “If you are affected by a cancellation of a Lufthansa flight, Lufthansa will rebook you on another flight free of charge and usually automatically and inform you via your mobile phone number or by e-mail.

Passengers wait to board a Lufthansa flight (Photo by Alexander Hassenstein/Getty Images)

“However, at the moment it takes longer to find an adequate rebooking solution during the peak travel season.

“If you do not receive a message from Lufthansa, please check the current status of your booking. Here you can also adjust the rebooking again if you wish.”