Lufthansa takes flack, after pilots decide to extend strike

Company - Akanksha Singh - Nov 30,2016

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lufthansa in deep trouble after the pilot strike extends

Lufthansa Air stuck in deep trouble after cancelling 900 flights; pilots decide to extend strike to a third day

The German flagship airline, Lufthansa cancelled 900 of its 912 flights this Wednesday, when the airline’s pilots went on a full rolling ‘strike mode’. The strike which caused discomfort to almost 200,000 passenger intensified and has been extended till Friday. It is the 14th strike that has been called since April by the Vereinigung Cockpit pilots union.

Though, Lufthansa has urged the VC pilot union to work together towards the resolution of the problem rather than its escalation; however, the union’s spokesman Joerg Hadwerd said: “The management of Lufthansa airline has shown no sign of willingness to stir, and has not yet provided an offer that could serve as a negotiation bias.”

Money discussions between the German airline and VC broke out earlier this month, and Lufthansa stated that the union has since constantly rejected any offer of mediation.

A 3.7% pay raise for 5,400 pilots dating back to 2012, is what the union has been demanding. However, Lufthansa offered only a 2.5% increase over six years until 2019. The air carrier is facing heavy competition from budget rivals all around and an increase in pay would be an increase in fares that translates to a decrease in popularity.

Carsten Spohr led Lufthansa argues that, despite making a great profit in 2015, the carrier has no other choice than to cut costs to compete with cheaper rivals like Ryanair on short-distance routes and Emirates on long flights. Lufthansa’s chief HR Bettina Volkens says that the Cockpit pilot’s demands of a rise in pay goes far beyond that of other groups’ employees, “It is incomprehensible why the union is seeking the highest salary increase,” she added.

The airline tried twice on Tuesday to seek a court injunction for preventing the walk-out, which is costing the airline between €7m to €9m a day.