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Selasa, 22 November 2016 07:46

Lufthansa Pilots Call 14th Strike in Salary Dispute Since 2014

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FRANKFURT - German pilots union Vereinigung Cockpit on Monday announced a strike at Lufthansa amid a salary dispute that has been ongoing for more than two years.

The strike, affecting all long- and short-haul flights from Germany, is the 14th in a dispute since April 2014 and will take place on Wednesday.

It was prompted bya breakdown in salary negotiations for Lufthansa's 5,400 pilots and co-pilots. The pilots union last Wednesday rejected a Lufthansa suggestion to appoint an arbitrator for the open salary negotiations.

The pilots' union rejected arbitration, since management's salary offer was too small to be accepted as a basis for arbitration, said union spokesman Markus Wahl.

The negotiating position between the two sides remains far apart, with the union demanding salary rises in five stages to a total of 22 per cent over the five years ending April 2017.

The previous salary agreement for the pilots of Lufthansa including subsidiaries Lufthansa Cargo and Germanwings ended in April 2012.

Lufthansa had offered an increase in salary of 2.5 per cent until the end of 2018. The union considered the management offer a loss of income in real terms for the pilots, which it said was unacceptable considering Lufthansa's current operating results.

Last week, however Lufthansa attempted to avert the impending strike.

"It is still not too late for an agreement," said Lufthansa head of personnel Bettina Volkens, concerning the dispute with pilots, which in addition to the salary question also includes other issues such as pensions.

Lufthansa has faced lengthy strikes by both its pilots and cabin crew in recent years as it attempts to roll out new cost-cutting measures in the face of competition from Middle Eastern airlines and budget carriers.

Among the Lufthansa subsidiary Eurowings, the union Verdi representing cabin crew has already called for a strike for Tuesday in the cities of Hamburg and Dusseldorf. In both locations, crews will strike from 5 am to 8 pm (0400 to 1900). Despite months of haggling, Eurowings management and Verdi have not come to an accommodation.

Competing cabin crew union Ufo called for strikes in October. (dpa) (hlz/hlz)