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27 May 2024

Polish national airline cancels flights amid employee strike

Photo: AP


Poland’s national airline LOT is cancelling some flights as crew members strike to protest layoffs and demand better pay and working conditions.

A spokesman for LOT, Konrad Majszyk, said Wednesday that over a dozen international flights from Warsaw, including to Germany and Denmark, were cancelled. Flights were also cancelled on Monday and Tuesday.

Almost 70 flight crew members have been fired for participating in the strike that started Thursday and that the management says is illegal.

Trade union members are demanding the implementation of a cancelled 2013 pay and employment deal, the reinstatement of their fired leader and other colleagues, as well as more spending on flight security. They recently added a demand that some management resign.

LOT’s president, Rafal Milczarski, said he was ready for talks, but not with the union officials, saying they are causing the company millions of zlotys (euros) in losses.

The company is rebooking passengers affected by cancellations and paying for accommodation, if needed.

LOT was Europe’s first airline to have Boeing 787 Dreamliner planes, in 2012. But the year also marked a downturn.

State subsidies, spending cuts and layoffs have been needed to help the 89-year-old company avoid bankruptcy. Under Milczarski, LOT became profitable.

Fully state-owned, it employs some 700 pilots and 1,300 air hostesses.