Germany’s national carrier Lufthansa has been forced to cancel two-thirds of scheduled flights on Friday ahead of a 24-hour walk-out by cabin crew.
It is the third strike in a week by members of the UFO union, who are demanding a five percent pay increase after three years of wage freezes.
The union represents about two-thirds of the company’s 19,000 flight attendants.
Lufthansa spokesman Klaus Walher said: “We are ready to agree a solution over pay for these workers, that is still on the table. But the union UFO apparently wants to address some other issues. That is unlikely because the concerned collective labour agreement is not open for discussion.”
One of the non-negotiable issues is the use of fixed-term contracts which unions says affects newer and younger workers the most. Another is the use of outsourced temporary staff.
“If negotiations are not possible on these key issues and if Lufthansa just says that everything will stay the same, then I fear that our colleagues will also say, ‘fair enough, we’ll continue with our strike,’,” said Nikoley Baublies, the head of the UFO union.
Friday’s action has been widened to six airports including Berlin, Munich and Frankfurt.
With around 1,000 flights unlikely to take-off, it is hoped the German rail network can take the strain.
The airline says details of cancelled flights will be posted on its website.