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Aviation

Court rules Lufthansa strikes can continue, 1,700 flights canceled

German airline Lufthansa has failed in a bid to block a pilots' strike via court injunction, meaning the strike will continue on Tuesday and Wednesday. Roughly 180,000 passengers are set to be affected.

A labor court in Munich ruled on Monday that the strike by Lufthansa pilots was "not obviously against the law" and could therefore continue, as Germany's flagship carrier scrambled to get its birds back in the sky. Lufthansa had sought a similar injunction in a separate court - this time close to Germany's busiest airport in Frankfurt - last week.

As a result, the strike can continue on Tuesday and Wednesday after a two-day pause. Lufthansa will cancel 816 short- and medium-haul flights from Germany on Tuesday and another 890 on Wednesday, including some long-distance flights, after the airline and pilots' union again failed to reach agreement over a long-running pay dispute.

Around 180,000 passengers will be impacted by the cancellations, Lufthansa said. An earlier four-day strike that ended Sunday grounded some 2,800 flights and stranded about 350,000 passengers.

Germany's flagship carrier and union Vereinigung Cockpit failed over a strike pause on Sunday and Monday to reach a settlement in a wage dispute that dates back to 2014.

Over the two-day break, company management offered Lufthansa's 5,400 pilots and co-pilots a 4.4-percent salary increase in two installments, coupled with a one-off payment instead of the retroactive pay increase unions are seeking. The pilots' union is calling for a 3.6-percent increase in pay, but backdated and starting from 2012. The latest labor action is the fourteenth of its kind since April 2014.

In July, Lufthansa reached a pay deal with cabin crew after they walked off the job in November 2015 for a week.  The strike impacted some 4,700 flights and left more than a half-million passengers stranded. That deal, made with a different trade union, included a no-strike agreement until 2021 in exchange for job security. 

If the strike impacts your travel plans, additional passenger information and advice can be found here.

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Lufthansa pilots to strike Tuesday and Wednesday

cw/msh (AFP, dpa, Reuters)

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