Cabin crews working for Deutsche Lufthansa AG went on strike on Tuesday at the Frankfurt and Berlin airports after a one-day work stoppage last week as they seek better pay and job protections.
The strike at Berlin’s Tegel Airport began at 5 a.m. (0300 GMT) and was to last six hours, the Ufo union said.
The work stoppage at Frankfurt’s airport began at 6 a.m. and was to last eight hours.
Lufthansa passengers were told to expect flight cancellations and delays.
About half of all of the airline’s short-and medium-haul flights and some long-haul operations scheduled during the work stoppages were cancelled, a spokesman said.
“Naturally, this affects us greatly because it is the heart of our flight operations,” airline spokesman Michael Lamberty said.
Tuesday’s action broadened the eight-hour strike Ufo called on Friday in Frankfurt, which saw hundreds of flights cancelled and thousands of passengers stranded. It cost the airline several million euros, Lufthansa said.
Ufo waited until 11 pm on Monday to announce the Berlin stoppage and about an hour later said it would add Frankfurt. The strategy of secrecy was designed to thwart Lufthansa’s attempts to fly its planes with non-strikers and crew borrowed from other airlines.
“We have absolutely no understanding for such antics, which in the end must be borne by our passengers,” Lamberty said.
Ufo said it saw no alternative in its labour negotiations with management.
“We very much regret that our passengers must suffer from our actions,” Ufo spokesman Alexander Behrens said, “but in our situation, it’s the only possibility that we have.” Ufo leader Nicoley Baublies said that if Lufthansa refuses to budge after the second “pinpoint” strike and continues its “arrogant attitude,” then there would be little to gain from additional smaller work stoppages.
Ufo indicated it would stage an all-out strike with all union members walking off the job if there is no progress after Tuesday but added that Wednesday would remain a strike-free day to give Lufthansa time to reconsider.
Ufo said more than half of Lufthansa’s 19,400 flight attendants are union members.
Lufthansa and the union have been holding talks for 13 months.
Flight attendants want a 5 per cent pay rise and protection against the outsourcing of cabin jobs to contractors who pay lower wages.
Management asked the union on Friday to restart negotiations, based on its offer of a 3.5 per cent raise and the scrapping of outsourcing and layoff plans, but Lufthansa is sticking to plans to establish a new low-cost airline subsidiary.