Up to 200,000 Lufthansa passengers are set to face travel chaos as ground staff, represented by the Verdi union, initiate a short-notice strike.

The walk-out, involving 25,000 union members, is scheduled to commence at 4 am on Tuesday, February 20, and conclude at 7:10 am on Wednesday, February 21.

The strike is expected to primarily impact the airline’s key hubs in Frankfurt and Munich. However, travellers flying from or to Berlin, Cologne-Bonn, Düsseldorf, Hamburg, and Stuttgart should also brace for disruptions.

Lufthansa has issued a warning to passengers, anticipating that only 10 to 20 percent of its flight program will operate, particularly on February 20. With the airline typically handling around 200,000 passengers daily, the repercussions of the strike are poised to extend beyond Tuesday, affecting the “first wave” of departures on Wednesday.

Research by The Independent indicates that a substantial number of flights, including those serving UK airports, are grounded on Tuesday. Furthermore, the first flight from Frankfurt to London on Wednesday has also been cancelled.

Discussions about salaries failed

Talks between the Verdi union and the airline faltered last week, with the union asserting that 96 percent of its members rejected Lufthansa’s most recent offer. The union contends that ground staff salaries are lagging behind other Lufthansa workers and argues that, given the airline’s record profits, employees should be compensated for income lost during the pandemic.

Verdi negotiator Marvin Reschinsky highlighted the disparity, stating, “While the group gives its pilots with annual basic incomes of up to €270,000 [£231,000] high double-digit pay increases, ground workers with starting hourly wages of sometimes €13 [£11] are not even expected to be compensated for the price increases of the last few years.”

With major flight cancellations and delays anticipated, the ongoing dispute between the union and Lufthansa leaves travellers stranded and highlights the growing tension between workers and management within the airline industry.





Amelia Brand is the Editor for HRreview, and host of the HR in Review podcast series. With a Master’s degree in Legal and Political Theory, her particular interests within HR include employment law, DE&I, and wellbeing within the workplace. Prior to working with HRreview, Amelia was Sub-Editor of a magazine, and Editor of the Environmental Justice Project at University College London, writing and overseeing articles into UCL’s weekly newsletter. Her previous academic work has focused on philosophy, politics and law, with a special focus on how artificial intelligence will feature in the future.