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Business

Lufhansa cabin crews go on strike as wage talks fail

German carrier Lufthansa will face major disruptions of its services as the airline's cabin staff has decided to stage an indefinite walkout. The strike will affect the airline at all German airports.

Speaking at a news conference Tuesday, the head of the UFO labor union Nicoley Baublies said the organization wouldn't reveal details as to where and when the walkouts would begin for tactical reasons.

However, for the medium term, he said Lufthansa would face an "open-ended strike."

UFO called the strike after cabin crew wage talks with management broke down in the night of Monday to Tuesday.

Watch video 01:33

Lufthansa prepares for cabin crew strike

The union, which represents about two-thirds of the airline's roughly 18,000 flight attendants, was seeking a pay increase of 5 percent for 15 months after three years with no increases at all.

In addition, the organization was opposed to a bigger use of temporary staff, envisaged by Lufhansa under a restructuring plan supposed to save as much as 1.5 billion euros ($1.87 billion) a year in costs.

However, Lufthansa said that major cost-cutting, including the loss of 3,500 of its 120,000 jobs worldwide, was necessary to regain profitability in the face of fierce competition from budget carriers and squeezed revenues due to rising fuel costs.

A strike ballot carried out earlier this month showed 97.5 percent of Lufthansa cabin staff in favor of industrial action to increase pressure on the airline's management.

Lufthansa said that it would inform passengers about strike contingency plans as soon as possible, adding that long-haul services would be given priority over maintaining short distance flights within Germany and Europe.

uhe/msh (AFP, dpa)

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