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Aviation

Air Berlin pilots announce strike after wage negotiations stall

Pilots from Air Berlin have announced a strike after months of unsuccessful wage negotiations. The work stoppage from pilots of Germany's second largest airline can be expected starting from the middle of the week.

The exact date of the strike was not set Monday, but passengers will be warned of the impending work stoppage ahead of time so they can adjust their schedules.

The German pilots' trade organization Vereinigung Cockpit said it was calling for the "medium-term introduction of industry standard wages." The union has asked for its pilots to be compensated similarly to how they are at competing airlines such as Germanwings, TUIfly and Condor.

After years of losses stemming from rapid expansion, the airline began a restructuring program in 2011 that included reductions such as cutting flights. The pilot's union rejected demands for wage cuts, saying that problems created by the airline should not be solved at the expense of pilots and cabin crew.

Air Berlin announced on Monday evening that it regretted the pilots' chosen course of action, adding that it would do everything possible to reduce flight disruptions as a result of strikes.

"As things stand now, all flights will be going ahead as planned," the airline said.

Despite the unsuccessful negotiations with the pilots' union, talks with cabin crew have been relatively fruitful. Last month Air Berlin reached a new collective bargaining agreement with the crew's representative union, ver.di, including a salary freeze to be implemented until the end of the year. The airline also approved an additional 250 seasonal workers for tourist season.

dr/mkg (dpa, Reuters)