German airline Lufthansa said it would only have to operate 10-20% of scheduled flights on Tuesday (February 20) due to a call for a strike by its ground staff over pay negotiations.

“We currently assume that only around 10 to 20 percent of Lufthansa Airline’s flight schedule will be able to be operated,” Europe’s largest airline group Lufthansa said on its website.

The strike is expected to last until Wednesday morning, according to the Verdi union. According to Lufthansa, 100,000 passengers are affected by the strike, which is taking place at airports in Frankfurt am Main, Munich, Hamburg, Berlin, Düsseldorf, Cologne-Bonn and Stuttgart.

Salary dispute

The union has called for a new strike as part of a conflict over the salaries of ground agents, from maintenance to handling, representing 25,000 employees. He expects a strong turnout. A previous strike, at the beginning of February, was well attended and caused the cancellation of nearly 90% of the flights initially planned by the group.

Verdi is demanding a 12.5% ​​increase in salaries, with at least 500 euros more immediately on the pay slip as well as an inflation compensation bonus of 3,000 euros. The aim is to offset inflation in recent years in Germany, which reached 5.9% last year, after 6.9% in 2022.

For its part, the company is proposing a 4% increase in December, before a 5.5% increase in February 2025, and has accepted the inflation bonus requested by the union. “Each employee would directly and sustainably have more money in their pocket,” defended the group.

Wave of strikes

Too little, according to the union. “While the group grants its pilots double-digit increases,” ground staff are not even “compensated for inflation,” lamented Mr. Reschinsky, Verdi’s negotiator. He hopes that “Lufthansa will significantly improve its offer” when negotiations resume on Wednesday.

Germany is facing a wave of strikes which particularly affects the transport sector, industry and services, where employees consider the proposed salary increases insufficient given the surge in prices since 2022.