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Strikes

German pilots' union Cockpit announces fresh Lufthansa strikes

The union representing pilots from German airline Lufthansa has called for a strike. Vereinigung Cockpit said it would give 24 hours notice of when and to what extent work stoppages would be carried out.

The Cockpit union called for the strikes Monday after failing to reach an agreement with Germany's largest airline in a long-running dispute over pilots' salaries. The strikes would affect Lufthansa passenger and cargo services.

Representing around 5,400 captains and co-pilots, Cockpit is demanding an average annual pay increase of 3.66 percent. Lufthansa has made around 5 billion euros in profit over the past five years, but pilots' wages have failed to keep up with inflation.

"Effective wage decreases in the same period in which a company records a profit is unacceptable," Cockpit president Ilja Schulz said in a statement.

Lufthansa responded saying that the threat of a strike is "absolutely incomprehensible." In a bid to avoid further strikes, the airline called for renewed talks, and offered to call in an arbitrator.

Competition with budget airlines

This will be the fourteenth strike in relation to the present wage dispute. A strike by Lufthansa pilots in April forced Germany's largest airline to ground nearly 900 flights, affecting hundreds of thousands of travelers.

Lufthansa has been cutting costs in an effort to compete with budget airlines like Ryanair. Schulz said that the union "considers the success of Lufthansa very important."

ae, ksb/se (AFP, dpa, Reuters)

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