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Lufthansa has to cancel a lot of flights because pilots are on strike over pay.

Image: Reuters Berita 24 English - Pilots at Lufthansa went on strike on Friday, which caused the German airline to cancel hundreds of fligh...

Image: Reuters

Berita 24 English - Pilots at Lufthansa went on strike on Friday, which caused the German airline to cancel hundreds of flights and leave people on vacation stranded.

The airline said that it had to cancel about 800 flights at its main hubs in Frankfurt and Munich on Friday, which affected 130,000 passengers. It also said that it was working hard to reduce the effects of the strike as much as possible.

Vereinigung Cockpit (VC), a labour union, asked more than 5,000 Lufthansa pilots to walk off the job for 24 hours because the most recent round of wage talks had failed.

This summer, strikes and a lack of staff have already caused Lufthansa and other airlines to cancel thousands of flights. This has led to long lines at major airports, which is frustrating for people who want to start travelling again after the COVID-19 lockdowns.

Liane Dickson was supposed to fly from Johannesburg to Amsterdam via Frankfurt, but the second part of her trip was cancelled before she left South Africa.

"It's been 16 hours, and we still don't have an email explaining what happened or telling us what to do next," she said at the Frankfurt airport.

"Yesterday, there was chaos at the Johannesburg airport because people didn't know if they should check their bags to Amsterdam or to Frankfurt."

The VC union wants a 5.5% pay raise this year and automatic inflation adjustments after that. They also want better conditions for new pilots.

Lufthansa said that VC's demands would raise its staff costs by 40%, or about 900 million euros ($899 million), over the next two years.

The airline has offered a total of 900 euros ($901.35) more in basic pay per month in two stages over a period of 18 months. It said this would mean more than 18% more pay for entry-level jobs and 5% more for senior jobs.

VC's demands also come at a time when energy and food prices are going up and Germany's inflation rate rose in August to its highest level in almost 50 years.

"I don't think this is the right time to strike. It's the most popular time to travel, and the notice is very short, "Andrea Buchloh-Adler said this at the Frankfurt airport. "Pilots don't make little money. They aren't hurt as much by the energy crisis and inflation as a lot of other people who go to work every day."

Last month, Lufthansa's management reached a pay deal with its ground staff. This stopped more walkouts from happening after a strike had caused more than 1,000 flights to be cancelled.

Pilots of Lufthansa's subsidiary Eurowings, who have voted for industrial action but are scheduled to meet with management next week, could also walk off the job.

($1 = 1.0016 euros)

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