Lufthansa passengers face more strike-related travel chaos Tuesday


Strikes by flight attendants at German carrier Lufthansa will last into a fourth day on Tuesday, the flight attendants’ union, Ufo, union said.

Lufthansa said late Monday that 136 flights already had been cancelled, affecting about 27,300 passengers.

The airline made a new offer to the union that raises the amount of a one-time payment by 1,000 euros (1,075 dollars) to 3,000 euros, Lufthansa board members Bettina Volkens and Karl Ulrich Garnadt said after a crisis meeting.

It also said it would back away from its suggestion that the early retirement age be raised from the current minimum age of 55 to 56.

The new offer was immediately rejected by the union.

“The offer brings minimal improvements and is combined with a threat,” said the head of Ufo, Nicoley Baublies. “That’s not the way it works.”

The call for a continuation of the strike on Tuesday will not be changed, he said, but negotiations were not ruled out. The union has said it would continue strike actions through Friday.

While all flights from Dusseldorf are to be targeted, the labour stoppage will be pared back in comparison with the last three days of strikes, with the only long-haul flights affected from Munich and Frankfurt.

Lufthansa passengers experienced another day of chaos Monday after the airline moved to cancel 929 flights as it tried to operate with the strike ongoing.

About 113,000 passengers were affected by the industrial action, which forms part of campaign by Ufo to head off Lufthansa moves to restructure retirement benefits.

The German airline’s management met Monday to consider what steps it could take in the dispute with its 19,000 cabin crew members.

Dusseldorf, Munich and the countries main hum in Frankfurt were the focus of Monday’s strikes. Cabin crews have walked off the job at different airports since they launched their industrial action on Friday.

Salary negotiations with the flight stewards’ union have been under way for about two years.

Lufthansa wants to lower retirement benefits for future staff while linking benefits to market returns on investment. The union insists on retaining the existing system of retirement benefits.

Lufthansa has been hit this year by a series of strikes – first by pilots and now Ufo – as it attempts to cut costs in the face of tough competition from budget carriers and new carriers from the Middle East.