Lufthansa cabin crew set to start weeklong strike

Lufthansa


Lufthansa’s main cabin crew union said a week-long strike would start on Friday at the German carrier, after last-minute talks between staff and management over early retirement benefits and pensions broke down.

“Friday will be the first day of the week of strikes,” cabin crew union UFO said in a statement on Thursday.

The union said it would not strike before 1100 GMT and would give more details on Friday morning. Lufthansa Group airlines Swiss, Austrian Airlines, Germanwings, Eurowings, and Brussels Airlines are not affected.

Lufthansa said on Thursday afternoon that the union had rejected a proposal that would have met all the union demands for current employees, but would introduce a new scheme for new starters. One of the union’s main demands was that current and future employees be treated the same.

The airline is negotiating with various staff groups as it tries to reduce costs. Talks over pensions and early retirement benefits in particular have met with opposition from staff keen to protect their pensions.

Lufthansa, which has taken a 130 million-euro ($141 million) hit to profits from strikes so far this year, had said if strike action was announced on Thursday afternoon it would have a revised flight plan ready by Thursday evening.

The airline also held talks on Thursday with union Verdi, representing around 33,000 ground, cargo and other cabin crew staff, on pensions. Those talks ended without a deal being reached, said Verdi, which said the next round of negotiations would be held on Nov. 10.

The pilots’ union has staged more than a dozen strikes in the last 18 months over early retirement benefits and the carrier’s low-cost expansion plans. The last strike in September was halted by a court, which ruled the pilots did not have the right to strike over a strategic decision such as low-cost expansion.

Lufthansa shares extended losses after the strike announcement and were down 4 percent just before market close.


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