Lufthansa was forced to cancel 1,300 flights on Nov. 7 and 8 as a strike by cabin crew union UFO neared.

The airline said it would operate 2,300 of 3,000 planned departures on Nov. 7 and 2,400 a day later.

So far Lufthansa flights are only affected. Other group carriers—such as Swiss International Air Lines, Austrian Airlines, Eurowings and Lufthansa CityLine—are not affected for now.

Lufthansa tried to stop the strike through a court ruling but lost the case in first instance on Nov. 6. The company launched an appeal against the ruling and a decision was expected for late in the evening.

Lufthansa CEO Carsten Spohr also invited union representatives to a meeting in a last-ditch attempt to avoid strikes, although neither a favorable court ruling nor an agreement would reduce the number of cancellations on Nov. 7.

A long-standing dispute between UFO and Lufthansa is behind the escalation. UFO has been going through internal upheaval for months and Lufthansa claims the current leadership is not legally entitled to sign collective bargaining agreements.

Following many resignations and legal proceedings over charges against former union representatives, UFO is currently led by Silvia de la Cruz and Daniel Flohr, two associates of former UFO-head Nicoley Baublies who has been behind past strikes and is allegedly seeking a comeback at union elections in February.

UFO is facing increased competition as a representative of Lufthansa’s 21,000 cabin crew. Verdi, a general services union, has been in talks with Lufthansa for some time and the newly founded Cabin Union is also seeking support in opposition to UFO.

The union is seeking better terms and work conditions after demanding a 1.8% salary raise for its members. Lufthansa agreed to pay 2% without negotiations.

Jens Flottau, jens.flottau@aviationweek.com