Key airports in Germany are set to experience further travel chaos as ground staff of the country’s flag carrier Deutsche Lufthansa call for a strike over a pay hike.

Nearly 20,000 Lufthansa ground staff will go on this strike, which will start on 27 July at 3.45am and end on 28 July at 6.00am.

This is expected to impact operations at Lufthansa hubs at various airports across the country including Frankfurt/Main, Düsseldorf, Cologne, Hamburg, Munich and Berlin.

The strike is aimed at securing an improved pay offer for Lufthansa staff.

Earlier, the airline offered a monthly basic pay raise of €150 for the rest of 2022, an additional €100 increase from 1 January 2023 and another 2% raise from 1 July 2023 based on the firm’s performance.

German trade union Ver.di, which had been seeking an increase of 9.5%, turned down this offer saying it does not compensate employees enough to cope with inflation.

Deutsche Lufthansa executive board member and chief officer of Human Resources Michael Niggemann said: “After only two days of negotiations, ver.di has announced a strike that can hardly be called a warning strike due to its breadth across all locations and its duration.

“This is all the more incomprehensible given that the employer side has offered high and socially balanced pay increases, despite the continuing tense economic situation for Lufthansa following the Covid crisis, high debt burdens and uncertain prospects for the global economy.”

This compounds problems for passengers, who have already been suffering due to workforce shortage at airports. Niggemann called the latest strike an ‘unnecessary burden’ for travellers.

Ver.di warned that the strike might lead to ‘major’ flight cancellations and delays at airports where Lufthansa operates.

Until now, the union and Lufthansa have conducted two rounds of negotiations on the matter. The third round will be held on 3 and 4 August 2022.

Ver.di deputy chairwoman Christine Behle said: “The situation at the airports is escalating, the overburdening of employees due to a significant shortage of staff, high inflation and a three-year wage cut would put the employees under increasing pressure. 

“They urgently need more money and they need relief for themselves and for the passengers. The employer’s offer is not enough for this.”