Lufthansa cancels about 1,700 flights amid strike

Published on NewsOK Modified: April 22, 2013 at 3:56 am •  Published: April 22, 2013

Lufthansa charged that ver.di, Germany's biggest service workers' union, was motivated by a desire to shore up its position in an increasingly fragmented union landscape in which assertive smaller groups representing individual professions have become more and more powerful. Monday's strike followed a smaller walkout last month.

"This time it is a strike ... with a massive impact, completely excessive, that has only one aim — to position itself as a union at Lufthansa against many other unions and groups," Lufthansa's chief personnel officer, Stefan Lauer, told ARD television. He put the number of passengers affected at 150,000.

Lauer complained that "the transport sector has mutated into a strike sector" and said that "we as Lufthansa now have to suffer strikes every three months," often by unions representing non-Lufthansa workers such as air traffic controllers and airport security staff.

The German national employers' association has called for government action to rein in the problem of companies facing demands from competing unions but, while Chancellor Angela Merkel has expressed sympathy for their concern, little has happened.

The airline allowed passengers with flights scheduled Monday to rebook for free, and said those booked on canceled German domestic flights could convert their tickets into vouchers to travel by train.