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Lufthansa staff target Berlin, Frankfurt in fresh strikes

Striking Lufthansa cabin crew have begun their walkout at Berlin's Tegel airport. Another stoppage is reported to be underway at Frankfurt, while the flight attendants union has pledged afternoon action in Munich.

Germany's Independent Flight Attendants Organization (UFO) said late on Monday that Lufthansa cabin crew at Berlin's Tegel airport would strike from 5 a.m. local time to 1 p.m. (3 a.m. to 11 a.m. GMT) on Tuesday.

The union announced shortly after the statement about the Berlin airport that crew would also be striking in Frankfurt, with the same length of stoppage running an hour later.

Staff had begun their action at Tegel as planned, UFO confirmed shortly after it was due to begin. The news agency DPA reported that the strike at Frankfurt was also underway.

The union had said earlier on Monday that it would not disclose details of its planned action until shortly prior to the beginning of the strike, in an effort to stop the airline flying with non-strikers and crew from other airlines.

The union had said it would target only specific airports on Tuesday, but did not rule out nationwide strikes in future.

"If Lufthansa again refuses to give in, Tuesday's industrial action will be the last pin-pointed strike before a nationwide walk-out," the head of UFO, Nicoley Baublies, had told a news conference in Frankfurt.

Baublies added that UFO had set Lufthansa an ultimatum for the end of Tuesday to come up with a new wage offer.  The union has said Lufthansa has refused to budge so far.

UFO is seeking a five-percent wage hike for Lufthansa cabin staff, backdated to January, and assurances from management to stop the use of temporary workers as flight attendants. Management has offered a 3.5 percent pay rise.

On Friday, an eight-hour cabin crew strike at Frankfurt Airport forced Lufthansa to cancel 190 mainly domestic and inner European Lufthansa flights.

rc /jm (dpa, dapd)