Strike slashes 800 Lufthansa flights

Kuwait Times - - BUSINESS -

Ger­man air­line Lufthansa said it had slashed 800 flights yes­ter­day as pi­lots walked out for a 48-hour strike fol­low­ing a four-day stop­page last week in a long-run­ning pay dis­pute. Around 82,000 pas­sen­gers are af­fected by the lat­est in­dus­trial ac­tion, the 15th by the car­rier's flight crew since April 2014. While yes­ter­day's walk­out af­fects short-haul flights, to­day will see a fur­ther 890 flights can­celled in­clud­ing some long-haul ser­vices. Lufthansa failed to ob­tain an in­junc­tion to halt the strike from a Mu­nich court-the se­cond time in a week its at­tempts to block in­dus­trial ac­tion by le­gal means have fallen through af­ter a sim­i­lar judg­ment in Frank­furt.

A spokesman told AFP the group had with­drawn an ap­peal against the Bavar­ian court's judg­ment. There is lit­tle sign of an end to the drawn-out dis­pute be­tween pi­lots and man­agers at Lufthansa, with union Vere­ini­gung Cock­pit warn­ing of fur­ther strikes if the air­line does not soften its po­si­tion. "Strikes can con­tinue as long as we don't have an of­fer we can ne­go­ti­ate over," union leader Jo­erg Handw­erg told the Sued­deutsche Zeitung daily. Pi­lots com­plain that they have had no pay rise in five years, while the air­line has con­tin­ued to book healthy prof­its.

They de­mand a pay in­crease of an av­er­age of 3.66 per­cent per year, retroac­tive for the past five years. But man­agers have re­jected such a set­tle­ment, with their last of­fer a one-off bonus of just un­der two months' salary and a 4.4 per­cent pay in­crease spread over two years-a deal re­fused by Cock­pit at the week­end. The pay deal was "only a part of an over­all pack­age" that in­cluded cuts to pen­sions, Handw­erg said. Lufthansa says it pays pi­lots sig­nif­i­cantly more than its com­peti­tors. Ac­cord­ing to man­agers, a co-pi­lot earns a start­ing salary of 6,500 eu­ros ($6,890) gross per month, while a late-ca­reer cap­tain can be paid as much as 22,000 eu­ros. — AFP

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