Flights grounded amid German airlines dispute

Flights grounded amid German airlines dispute

Cabin crew at German low-cost carriers Germanwings and Eurowings have walked out on strike today despite last ditch management efforts to resolve a pay dispute.

The strike at Germanwings will affect flights at German airports including Duesseldorf, Cologne and Dortmund

The 24-hour industrial action by Eurowings flight attendants in Dusseldorf and Hamburg has grounded almost all domestic flights.

“It will also be necessary to cancel or delay flights within Europe,” Eurowings said. Around 380 flights due to be operated by the two airlines will be affected.

“Eurowings is working on an amended flight schedule for the period concerned. A substitute flight schedule with the isolated flights that will take place and the long-haul flights not affected by the strike will be published on the Eurowings website,” the carrier said.

Passengers due to fly today are being offered the option to cancel or rebook their flights free of charge. Eurowings is also provide vouchers enabling customers travel by rail instead.

The strike follows the breakdown of talks around a collective wage agreement, which the airline claims amounts to an average 7% pay increase over three years and three months.

Parent company Lufthansa in is the process of expanding Eurowings and regional sister carrier Germanwings to establish the combined unit as a leading European budget carrier.

But the flight attendants’ union Ufo last night rejected management offers of arbitration. 

Ufo board member Nicoley Baublies said: "We regret that this escalation is necessary. But negotiations reached a point at which there is no alternative to a strike.”

Eurowings HR managing director Joerg Beissel said: “By offering this whole package of improvements and significant pay increases, we are approaching the limits of what is feasible and justifiable in an economically difficult environment.

“While other airlines are talking about downsizing, we’re talking about growth and pay increases in difficult market conditions.

“Given this situation, we are appealing to the responsibility of Ufo to return to the negotiating table and not to fight resolvable pay battles at our customers’ expense.”

Germanwings has a fleet of 60 aircraft while Eurowings has 23.

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