The Hindu Business Line

Lufthansa pilots agree to mediated talks in pay row

- AP

Lufthansa and German pilots' union Vereinigun­g Cockpit have agreed to mediated talks to resolve a row over contracts dating back to 2012, averting the threat of further strikes for a few more weeks, the two parties said on Friday.

Lufthansa has been embroiled in a series of separate disputes with its pilots and cabin crew staff over pay and conditions as management seeks to reduce costs to compete with budget airlines and more efficient long-haul carriers.

The mediation process is to start in early January and be completed within the month, during which time the pilots will not call for further strikes, Lufthansa and VC said in a statement on Friday.

“The negotiatin­g table is the only place where we can find solutions that offer prospects for employees and for the company,” said Bettina Volkens, Lufthansa's head of personnel.

Lufthansa's pilots have walked out 15 times since early 2014, costing the carrier hundreds of millions of euros in lost profits.

Most recently, they were on strike for six days in November, costing the airline a further €100 million ($104 million) in profits.

The pilots have asked for an average annual pay increase of 3.7 per cent over a five-year period backdated to 2012, which is when their last collective bargaining contract with Lufthansa expired.

The pilots say altogether these increases would amount to a rise of nearly 20 per cent on current pay.

Lufthansa has proposed an increase of 4.4 per cent in two instalment­s in 2016 and 2017, plus a one-off payment worth 1.8 months' pay. Separately, cabin crew union UFO said on Friday that three-way talks with Lufthansa's budget carrier Eurowings and fellow union Verdi had failed to reach an agreement.

UFO has been trying to agree new contracts for staff at Eurowings for two years. But Verdi reached a separate agreement with the carrier earlier this month, which Eurowings wants to apply to all 450 cabin crew staff.

Under the agreement with Verdi, flight attendants receive a retroactiv­e pay increase of 2.5 per cent from October 1, followed by another 2.5 per cent next year and 1.25 per cent in 2018.

“We have offered UFO the same agreement,” Eurowings said on Friday. “We cannot have two different wage contracts with one group of workers,” it added.

 ??  ?? Lufthansa pilots protest in Frankfurt, Germany (file photo)
Lufthansa pilots protest in Frankfurt, Germany (file photo)

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