Pilots at German flagship airline Lufthansa announce plans to continue strike after failure of talks

November 28, 2016 6:00 pm

A flight passenger stands in front of a board displaying the cancelled flights of German airline Lufthansa at the airport in Frankfurt am Main, western , November 25, 2016. (Photo by AFP)

Pilots at German flagship airline Lufthansa have planned to continue a strike on Tuesday and Wednesday this week following the failure of talks with the management to settle a long-standing pay dispute.
“Unfortunately, the high-level talks that took place today at short notice failed to produce a result,” German pilots’ Vereinigung Cockpit (VC) union board member Joerg Handwerg said in a statement on Sunday.
“There is still no negotiable offer from Lufthansa regarding the compensation of pilots, which means industrial action needs to continue,” he said.
The union, which has 5,400 pilots as members, said the upcoming walkout will affect short-haul local flights on Tuesday and short- and long-haul flights out of Germany on Wednesday.
Lufthansa’s management said the VC’s decision to continue the industrial action had disappointed them.
The airline said it would have a special flight schedule by Monday 1300 GMT to make up for the changes. It said that all flights would start on schedule on Monday as there had been no strike call from the pilots’ union for that day.
The airline was forced to cancel nearly 2,800 flights last week during a four-day strike from Wednesday that affected more than 350,000 passengers.
Lufthansa pilots are in dispute with the management over salaries and annual raises, the latter of which have been frozen since 2012.
Lufthansa has offered to increase the pilots’ pay by 4.4 percent in two installments and make a one-off payment worth 1.8 months’ pay.
The pilots want an average annual raise of 3.7 percent and five years of back pay.
“We have to talk… this cannot be forced via strikes,” Lufthansa’s board member in charge of human resources, Bettina Volkens, said, referring to the demanded pays and the raise. “I hope very much that [VC] finally changes its uncompromising stance.”
Pilot strikes cost Lufthansa 222 million euros ($235 million) in 2014, according to the IW Cologne Institute for Economic Research, while in 2015, walkouts by pilots and cabin crew cost the airline 231 million euros.
Lufthansa said it had taken another 20 million-euro hit in the first two days of the strike last week.
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