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Germany faces more travel chaos as Lufthansa ground crews strike

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Travelers in Germany face more upheaval this week, with 25,000 Deutsche Lufthansa AG ground personnel set to walk off the job in warning strikes called by the Verdi labor union, according to Bloomberg.

Germany’s main services union urged the airline’s ground crews in Frankfurt, Munich, Hamburg, Berlin and Dusseldorf to strike from 4 a.m. CET on February 7 to 7:10 a.m. the next morning, calling Lufthansa’s proposals “completely inadequate” in a statement on Monday. Lufthansa declined to comment on the action. The shares fell as much as 1.6% in Frankfurt trading.

“Lufthansa employees already have about 10% percent less in their pockets today than three years ago,” Verdi’s chief negotiator Marvin Reschinsky said. “Despite record profits, this situation will only worsen with the employers’ offer.” The union is demand a 12.5% pay rise, or at least €500 more per month, over 12 months as well as a €3,000 inflation bonus. It’s also asking for shift work to be upgraded.

It comes less than a week after a strike by airport security staff hobbled flight plans and caused widespread cancellations and delays across the country. Germany’s transport sector has been plagued by travel chaos in recent weeks as train drivers and local transport staff went on strike for better pay and working conditions.

A shortage of skilled workers — coupled with high inflation — has emboldened employees across many industries in Germany to seek wage increases and preserve the flexibility and independence they gained during the pandemic.

The next round of negotiations between Verdi and Lufthansa is scheduled to take place on February 12.