BERLIN, March 20 (Xinhua) -- Germany's largest airline Lufthansa on Wednesday announced it would cancel hundreds of flights scheduled for Thursday, as its staff were called to a nationwide strike in major German airports.
Employees from almost all of Lufthansa units including service, IT, cargo, and maintenance were called by the Ver.di union to strike in airports of Frankfurt, Hamburg, Berlin, Munich, Dusseldorf, Cologne and Norderstedt on Thursday morning.
Lufthansa said in a statement that its flight plan on Thursday would be disrupted due to the strike between 5 a.m. and noon. Most of the domestic and short haul flights would be canceled.
By 16:00 Wednesday, nearly 700 flights have been canceled by Lufthansa, including one from Beijing. The airline urged its passengers to check their flight status before beginning their journeys, and be prepared for longer waiting time in the terminals for boarding the unaffected flights.
Representing 33,000 workers of the Lufthansa, Ver.di union is in a collective bargaining with the airline for a salary increase of 5.2 percent and a more secure job condition.
It said in a statement on Wednesday that Lufthansa's demands, presented in the first round of negotiation in February, of a two-year pay freeze until January 2015, and the extension of work week by one hour was "completely unacceptable".
"Such a request is provocative and an affront to all employees in Lufthansa," said Christine Behle, board member of the union.
The two sides are set to negotiate for the second round on Friday in Frankfurt. The strike on Thursday, according to the union, is a warning and is aimed to add pressures on Lufthansa.