52,000 Lufthansa workers plan for strike


BERLIN — Frankfurt and Hamburg airports will be the hardest hit on Monday when 52,000 employees of Lufthansa AG go on strike, a union official said Sunday.

All other German airports served by Germany’s biggest airline will also be affected by the massive walkout, Ver.di spokesman Harald Reutter told The Associated Press.

The union, which represents workers of Lufthansa ground crews and service personnel, sought a pay increase of 9.8 percent early this year. The union rejected a Lufthansa offer of 6.7 percent spread through February 2010, plus a one-time bonus payment, and the dispute has not been resolved.

The union and the airline were not in discussions over the weekend.

Ver.di has calculated that the strike will cost Lufthansa 5 million euros ($7.8 million) per day, according to Bild newspaper. The strike is scheduled to begin at midnight.

Lufthansa says it will attempt to minimize the damage to its flight schedule and inconvenience to passengers.

During past strikes, the airline has honored domestic tickets through the national railroad, Deutsche Bahn.

Over the weekend, German politicians urged both sides to cooperate in reaching a deal and end the strike quickly.

“Who will suffer directly is the many workers and their families who booked their well-deserved vacations long ago,” Bavarian Governor Guenther Beckstein was quoted as saying in the Welt am Sonntag newspaper.

Lufthansa already had to cancel about 1,000 domestic and European flights last week after the pilots union Cockpit called strikes at Lufthansa’s subsidiaries Eurowings and CityLine.