Ground staff at Lufthansa, Germany's biggest airline, have walked off the job on a one-day strike that prompted the company to cancel most of the day's scheduled flights in advance.

The strike by technicians and service personnel at the airline across Germany started in the early hours of Monday. Lufthansa announced on Saturday that it would operate only about 20 of more than 1,650 scheduled short-haul flights and also scrapped the majority of long-haul services.

The ver.di union announced the "warning strike" — a tactic commonly used by German unions to raise pressure in wage talks — on Friday. Lufthansa last week rejected its demand for wage increases of 5.2 percent over the next year and job guarantees.

Lufthansa has accused ver.di of using "completely excessive" tactics.