Germany braces for fresh rail, air travel strikes


FRANKFURT: Germany braced for more travel misery after unions on Monday called for renewed walkouts at Lufthansa and rail operator Deutsche Bahn, amid escalat­ing rows over inflation-busting pay rises. Lufthansa ground staff will stage a two-day strike from Thursday, the powerful Verdi union announced, accus­ing management at the airline group of showing “no willing­ness” to come up with an im­proved offer.

The stoppage would impact passenger services from 0300 GMT on Thursday until 0610 GMT on Saturday, Verdi said.

Some 200,000 air travellers would be affected, Lufthansa warned. The strike call comes less than a week after ground staff at Lufthansa’s technical support and aviation training units downed tools. That walk­out, however, did not affect passenger travel.

A one-day strike by Lufthan­sa ground staff in Germany last month already affected some 100,000 passengers, with be­tween 80 and 90 percent of the airline’s com­mercial flights grounded. Verdi’s chief negotiator Marvin Reschin­sky said it was “regrettable” that passengers would again see their travel plans dis­rupted. “By ignor­ing our request to negotiate, Lufthansa is tell­ing us that it will only move when the pressure in­creases further,” he said. Verdi is seeking pay rises of 12.5 percent for the workers it represents, or a minimum of 500 euros ($542) more a month.__The Nation