Strike at Lufthansa forces LAX flight cancellations

LAX at night.
LAX at night.

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Lufthansa Airlines is canceling two flights Thursday out of Los Angeles International Airport due to a one-day strike by flight attendants.

The German airline is dealing with a strike called by the German labor union UFO, which represents about half of the airline’s flight attendants. The strike will go on for 24 hours, beginning 3 p.m. Pacific time on Thursday, according to information posted on UFO’s German-language website. (UFO stands for Unabhängige Flugbegleiter Organisation, or Independent Flight Attendants Organization.)

Workers represented by UFO are asking for a wage increase and better compensation, according to the website.

Globally, Lufthansa said it planned to cancel on Friday nearly 70 percent of its scheduled flights.

On Thursday, Lufthansa canceled 22 flights out of the U.S., including two flights from LAX to Frankfurt and Munich.

Customers who were on those flights have been rebooked on other Lufthansa flights or on other airlines within Lufthansa Group unaffected by the strike, said company spokesman Nils Haupt.

Third labor action so far

The strike is the third labor action held by UFO recently. The first two incidents, which lasted several hours each, has cost Lufthansa an amount in the tens of millions of Euros, Haupt said.

Haupt said the company has not estimated how much this third strike will cost the airline.

The airline and UFO have yet to come to an agreement. Lufthansa says it has offered flight attendants a 3.5 percent salary increase, but unionized workers are hoping for more. Attendants say they have not received raises in three years.

Lufthansa also wants to change the pay structure for employees and increase the amount of time worked by two hours each month.

Most of the canceled flights out of the U.S. will occur on Thursday. There will be only one flight out of Philadelphia that is canceled on Friday, Lufthansa said.

More changes could be in store.

“It really depends on how many people come to work tomorrow,” Haupt said.