Lufthansa pilots describe failed pay talks as 'a missed opportunity' ahead of Friday's strike

Planes of German air carrier Lufthansa are parked at Frankfurt airport, Germany.
Planes of German air carrier Lufthansa are parked at Frankfurt airport, Germany.   -   Copyright  REUTERS/Kai Pfaffenbach
By Angela Symons  with Reuters

Pilots at Lufthansa will strike on Friday over an ongoing wage dispute.

The 24-hour walkout has led to 800 flights being cancelled from Frankfurt and Munich. This will affect around 130,000 passengers.

Strikes and staff shortages have already forced airlines including Lufthansa to cancel thousands of flights this summer. Last month, the German airline reached a pay deal with ground staff which promised to reduce further walkouts.

However, the airline recently confirmed that it will be removing some flights from its winter schedule from now until 26 March 2023 due to staffing issues.

Why are Lufthansa pilots striking?

Pay talks have failed, according to German pilot union Vereinigung Cockpit (VC).

VC is demanding a 5.5 per cent pay rise this year and automatic inflation compensation thereafter for more than 5,000 pilots.

"We have not received a sufficient offer... This is sobering and a missed opportunity," says VC spokesperson Matthias Baier.

On Wednesday, pilots at Lufthansa's subsidiary Eurowings voted in favour of strikes but first want to continue wage negotiations with their employer.

Friday's strike will affect pilots for the passenger airline as well as its cargo division.

What does Lufthansa say about the strike?

Lufthansa intends to minimise the effects of the pilots' strike and defended its offer during wage talks.

Michael Niggemann, the Lufthansa executive board member responsible for human resources, says the German carrier made a good, balanced offer during talks and the strike would inconvenience several thousand customers.

"We want solutions at the negotiating table," he says, adding that Lufthansa's offers were a good basis for continuing talks.

Lufthansa has offered a total of €900 more in basic pay per month in two stages over an 18-month term as well as an agreement guaranteeing cockpit staff a minimum fleet size.