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Strikes

Lufthansa cancels 600 flights as strike hits German airports

Strike action by employees has disrupted numerous German airports, with the national carrier Lufthansa cancelling 600 flights. A key public services union focused on major hubs such as Frankfurt, Munich and Dusseldorf.

Strike paralyzes Frankfurt Airport

Strike action by Germany's main union Ver.di began on Thursday with employees at Germany's biggest airport hub, Frankfurt, stopping work during at the start of the early morning shift.

The strike action prompted Lufthansa to warn customers of mass cancellations. According to a press statement published on Wednesday, the German airline said it would ground 600 flights.

Most of the flights cancelled on Thursday were expected to be within Germany and Europe. The airline advised passengers to refer to its official website for more information and possible alternative travel arrangements.

Lufthansa also criticized the union's decision to launch a strike which is expected to affect airports in Frankfurt, Munich, Cologne, Düsseldorf, Hamburg, Hannover and Stuttgart.

"Ver.di is accepting the fact [this strike] is exploiting people and companies uninvolved [in negotiations], just like it did during the security personnel strike in Frankfurt over a month ago," Lufthansa board member Bettina Volkens said on Wednesday.

"The Lufthansa group alone will suffer millions in losses even though we're not involved this wage dispute," Volkens added.

Talks resume next week

The strikes stem from a larger dispute over a pay raise of 3.5 percent, plus a 100 euro ($138) one-off payment, for 2.1 million federal and municipal workers. Talks aimed at settling the dispute are due to resume next week.

Walkouts were scheduled to begin at 3:30 a.m. local time (0230 UTC) and end at 2:30 p.m. (1330 UTC) on Thursday.

kms,rc/mz,ipj (AFP, Reuters, dpa)

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