Lufthansa pilots succumb to negotiation

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Lufthansa Airline to negotiate with pilots over strike
Lufthansa Airline to negotiate with pilots over strike

(Reuters/NAN) Lufthansa (LHAG.DE) and German pilots’ union Vereinigung Cockpit on Friday agreed to mediate talks to resolve a row over contracts dating back to 2012.

Report says the talk may avert the threat of further strikes for a few more weeks, the two parties said.

Lufthansa has been embroiled in a series of separate disputes with its pilots and cabin crew staff over pay and conditions.

The management, however, sought to reduce costs to compete with budget airlines and more efficient long-haul carriers.

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

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

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 Euros (104 million dollars) in profits.

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

The pilots declared 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.

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