Lufthansa pilot strike: cancellation more than 200 flights

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Lufthansa pilot strike: cancellation more than 200 flights

Unread post by bimjim » Sun Sep 07, 2014

http://www.trinidadtimes.com/index.php/sid/225466195

Lufthansa pilots' strike causes cancellation of more than 200 flights
Saturday 6th September, 2014

FRANKFURT, Germany

Lufthansa has indicated that a pilot's strike on Friday led to the cancellation of 200 flights, disrupting the travel plans of more than 25,000 people.

The 6-hour stoppage on Friday at Frankfurt airport, the airline's primary hub, impacted short and medium-haul flights and was the latest strike in a long-running dispute between the airline and the Vereinigung Cockpit union over an early retirement scheme.

The strike by Lufthansa pilots comes after pilots with the airlines budget carrier Germanwings went on strike last week for the same reason. Lufthansa said in a statement that they regretted the union's decision to strike before scheduled talks on Friday had even taken place.

"We are very disappointed that we cannot avert strike action. The impression given is that the Vereinigung Cockpit pilots' union had already decided to strike," said Dr Bettina Volkens, Chief Officer Human Resources and Legal at Lufthansa. "It is unrealistic to expect to reach agreement on a new model for sustainable transitional benefits in the course of a single day."

The union hit back saying that they were protesting the way in which the airline dealt with its staff. "We will continue to strike until Lufthansa brings an end to the confrontational way in which they deal with staff," union official Joerg Handwerg told Reuters.

The same group of pilots staged a three-day nationwide strike in April over the same issue, and want Lufthansa to retain a scheme that has been around for five decades, allowing pilots to take early retirement at 55 and still receive up to 60% of their pay.

The carrier, which had wanted to scrap the scheme entirely, wants to increase the average age at which its pilots retire to 61, saying the scheme is unaffordable for the airline.

Lufthansa chief executive Carsten Spohr has said changes are necessary to keep the airline's costs down and keep the carrier competitive in the international travel industry.

Friday's strike coincided with the end of the summer holiday period in some German states, but did not cause as much disruption as the strike action in April.

The strike last Friday by the pilots of the Germanwings budget carrier caused the cancellation of more than 100 flights, impacting 15,000 passengers.

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