Lufthansa Union Calls for Three-Day Strike at Germanwings

(Bloomberg) -- German cabin-crew union UFO called for more strikes at Deutsche Lufthansa AG’s low-cost Germanwings unit after the two sides failed to settle a long-running labor dispute.

Workers at Germanwings, which now operates under the Eurowings umbrella, will strike between Dec. 30 and Jan. 1, the union said Friday in a video broadcast on YouTube. Further strike action will be announced after Jan. 2, 2020, the union said.

“We had hoped up until the last minute to be able to bring better news today,” union representative Daniel Flohr said in the video. “We have no choice now but to defend our interests through strike action.”

Lufthansa blasted the strike-call Friday, saying UFO had for weeks failed to spell out its concrete demands in writing, blocking a quick fix to the dispute. Strife between UFO and the airline was a ruse to “enforce personal and financial interests” of the union’s management, said Lufthansa board member Detlef Kayser in an email.

Eurowings, in a separate statement, said 30 of the group’s 140 planes fly for Germanwings. Further talks between the airline and the union are planned for Jan. 16-17.

The dispute between Lufthansa and its cabin crew has been going on for several months. The parties hammered out a deal on pay earlier this month, but failed to reach an agreement on working conditions. Cabin-crew members held strikes in November, leading to the cancellation of about 1,300 flights.

The labor strife is coming at a difficult time for Lufthansa, which warned in July that competition from low-cost carriers would have a negative impact on its business in the second half of the year.

Airlines globally are dealing with a decline in traveler and cargo revenue caused by slowing economic growth and trade wars. UFO represents the interests of more than 30,000 cabin crew in Germany.

The Germanwings brand was folded into Lufthansa’s Eurowings group after a deadly 2015 crash. Passengers are only able to book through the Eurowings brand.

©2019 Bloomberg L.P.

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