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Germany’s largest airline Lufthansa has to prepare itself for a strike after negotiations with the flight attendants' union (UFO) over wage increases and the use of agency workers failed yesterday. The union has now announced a short-term strike which could have a massive impact on air travel in the country and could cost the company millions.
It is not clear when there will be industrial action as the union will take advantage of a “surprise effect”. But a strike could materialise as soon as Thursday, UFO leader Nicoley Baublies told German media this morning. “If there will be a strike on Thursday, we will announce this at the latest on Wednesday evening,” he said.
UFO and Lufthansa had been involved in lengthy negotiations over pay rises and the use of agency workers which the union had tried to undermine. “The attempt to prevent temporary staffing has failed,” Mr Baublies said.
Lufthansa has employed around 200 agency workers, who, the union claims, will have to work longer hours than permanent staff. Although the contingent staff are paid the same entry level salaries as permanent workers, wage increases are not planned and the workers will also be excluded from retirement provisions.
Lufthansa has experienced financial troubles, after making losses of €13 million since 2011. The launch of its new austerity package, which includes the hiring of agency workers, aims to increase business activities by €1.5 billion in the next two years.