Germany’s ver.di trade union has called on its Lufthansa employee members to stage a warning strike this week, in an ongoing dispute over pay.

Lufthansa said that the move could see around 20,000 ground staff go on strike between 0345 on Wednesday July 27 and 0600 on Thursday July 28.

Ver.di said that it was calling the strike “to increase the pressure on employers to submit a significantly improved, final offer in the next round of negotiations”, but Lufthansa called the action “unreasonable for customers and employees”.

The carrier added the next round of negotiations has long been agreed upon and would take place on August 3 and 4, 2022.

“After only two days of negotiations, ver.di has announced a strike that can hardly be called a warning strike due to its breadth across all locations and its duration,” said Michael Niggemann, member of the executive board and chief officer human resources Deutsche Lufthansa AG.

“This is all the more incomprehensible given that the employer side has offered high and socially balanced pay increases – despite the continuing tense economic situation for Lufthansa following the Covid crisis, high debt burdens and uncertain prospects for the global economy.

“After the enormous efforts to stabilize our flight operations, this represents a renewed, substantial and unnecessary burden for our passengers and also for our employees beyond the strike day.”

Lufthansa has been forced to cancel thousands of services this summer to “prevent overloading of ground processes during peak periods”, and recently welcomed a move by Frankfurt airport to cap flight numbers, meaning that other carriers would also be obligated to contribute towards “an even reduction and stabilization with flight cancellations”.

Frankfurt airport to cap flight numbers

In a statement Lufthansa said that it had presented a 18-month package to employees, including an increase in basic pay of €150 per month as of July 1, 2022, a further basic pay increase of €100 per month as of January 1, 2023, and an additional two-percent increase in compensation as of July 1, 2023, “depending on how our business develops”.

The carrier added that the second pay increase as of January 2023 would mean employees with a basic monthly salary of €3,000 before taxes would see an increase in basic salary of between nine and just under 11 per cent within the next 12 months.

But ver.di called the pay offer “insufficient”, and warned that “The situation at the airports is escalating; the overburdening of employees due to a significant shortage of staff, high inflation and a three-year wage cut would put the employees under increasing pressure”.,