Frankfurt / Main (AP) - The announced Sunday warning strike at Lufthansa could hit far more passengers than previously thought.
The cabin union Ufo has on Friday extended its strike call to the other German airlines of the Lufthansa Group. Now all starts of the subsidiaries Eurowings, Germanwings, Lufthansa Cityline and SunExpress are to be taken on Sunday between 5 and 11 o'clock nationwide, as the union communicated. An hour later, the strike is set to begin at the core company Lufthansa in Frankfurt and Munich.
With this threat are now about 500 instead of the previously known 160 departures in the strike period at risk. Tens of thousands of passengers have to worry about their connections. In addition to the Lufthansa hubs in Munich and Frankfurt, Eurowings bases such as Düsseldorf, Stuttgart or Berlin would also be affected.
Lufthansa had announced that it would continue to offer the flight program of its core company in Munich and Frankfurt despite the strike. For this, replacement forces had been searched internally.
Ufo was unimpressed by the company's short-term announcement to voluntarily increase salaries for its core brand employees by 2.0 percent, exceeding the 1.8 percent claim. At first only the demand for one of five companies would be fulfilled, explained a spokesman. In addition, a voluntary payment is something completely different than a collective agreement.
"Cynically, Lufthansa stylizes the long conflict to a showdown on the backs of customers and employees by threatening and making it possible to carry out flights with strikebreakers," said former UFO CEO Nicoley Baublies in a statement. Since no quick change is to be expected, all UFO members would be called to vote on indefinite strikes. The polls should run until the 1st of November this year.
An estimated 100,000 passengers would be affected by 500 flights. Hundreds of flight attendants are called to strike. There are usually four cabin crew members on medium-haul aircraft, and up to 20 in the larger overseas jets in the case of the Airbus A380.
"We are ready to strike," said deputy Ufo chairman Daniel Flohr on Friday. The union officially demands 1.8 percent more money for the approximately 22,000 flight attendants at Lufthansa. For the other air carriers other specific tariff targets apply.
Behind the labor dispute but there is a deep rift between UFO and the Lufthansa Group. The company no longer recognizes the Ufo board as having the right to represent itself after significant management disputes and intends to have the union denied the collective bargaining power in court. The longtime Ufo chairman Baublies was even dismissed from the Lufthansa service. In this logic, Lufthansa rates the strike as unlawful and has threatened participants with labor law consequences. At the same time, the DGB trade union Verdi has called on Lufthansa to negotiate cabin crew. The UFO Vice Flohr accuses the company of wanting to shut down its union in favor of the Verdi competition.
Also on Friday, initially, there was no application for a preliminary injunction against the already announced on Monday labor dispute, as Lufthansa confirmed. The company could also take legal action against UFO later.
Internally, Lufthansa has been looking for flight attendants who volunteer on Sunday. For details, the company did not want to comment. Passengers are requested to inform themselves about the status of their flights. If you have your contact details, you will be informed directly.
The UFO warned the company against keeping lists of sick leave during the strike because it violated data protection and was punishable by law. The union advises its members to have a medical certificate ready from the first day of illness.
In the past, Lufthansa had voluntarily canceled many flights and issued an emergency flight plan in the event of strike threats by pilots or flight attendants. For the actually announced strike it had to come then no more because of the flight cancellations. The Lufthansa flight attendants were last on strike in November 2015.