Lufthansa pilots went on strike on Friday, forcing the German airline to cancel hundreds of flights and stranding tourists.

The Vereinigung Cockpit (VC) union said on Wednesday that wage negotiations with Lufthansa had failed and called on pilots from the passenger airline and Lufthansa Cargo to go on strike.

VC is demanding a 5.5% salary increase this year for its more than 5,000 pilots and automatic compensation for inflation thereafter.

Lufthansa has offered a total of 900 euros ($901.35) more base pay per month in two stages over 18 months, as well as a deal guaranteeing cabin crew a minimum fleet size.

Strikes and staff shortages have already forced airlines, including Lufthansa, to cancel thousands of flights this summer and led to hours-long queues at major airports, frustrating tourists eager to travel after COVID lockdowns. -19.

The VC lawsuits also come against a backdrop of rising energy and food prices, with German inflation hitting its highest level in nearly 50 years in August.

Lufthansa canceled some 800 flights at its main bases in Frankfurt and Munich, affecting 130,000 passengers.

Last month, Lufthansa management reached a salary agreement with ground staff, avoiding further work stoppages after a strike forced it to cancel more than 1,000 flights.

Lufthansa is also facing possible strikes by pilots at its Eurowings subsidiary, who have voted for union action but are due to hold a round of talks with management next week.

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