Germanwings begins cabin personnel strike with threat of extension

The German cabin staff union UFO threatened Monday to prolong the three-day strike that Germanwings, a subsidiary of Lufthansa, has started today, and that on this first day has lacked a notable impact on German airports.

According to the website of Eurowings, the low-cost airline whose flights Germanwings operates, in the three scheduled days of unemployment - from 00.00 local today and until 24.00 on January 1 - the cancellation of 174 routes is expected, from a total of 1,200.

The airports most affected will be those in Cologne-Bonn, Munich, Hamburg and Berlin-Tegel; most of the suspended flights will be domestic, although connections with Vienna and Zurich will also be impacted.

UFO Vice President Daniel Flohr warned in statements to the ZDF television channel that the strike can be extended. "It's not what we want," he said Monday, noting that "if there is a need to continue," the union is willing to announce it shortly.

The strike was called after a round of arbitration between UFO and the parent airline Lufthansa was closed without agreement, although, according to a Germanwings spokesman, negotiations continue.

In November, a strike that affected the four Lufthansa subsidiaries forced the cancellation of 1,500 flights, leaving some 200,000 passengers on the ground.

In the case of Germanwings, the cabin staff union accuses the airline of not applying the collective agreement and of rejecting without reason requests to reduce working hours.

The labor dispute with Lufthansa also includes demands for higher wages and for improvement of pension plans.


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