A labor court in the German state of Hesse has issued a temporary injunction against the pilots' union Vereinigung Cockpit, ordering Lufthansa pilots to halt their strike. The walkout is the 13th amid a pay dispute.
The regional labor court in the German city of Frankfurt issued the injunction on Wednesday in response to an appeal by Lufthansa, which had earlier failed to stop the strike through the courts.
The court called the strike "unlawful," saying it was not directed at achieving a concrete goal with regard to wages, but rather against Lufthansa's plans to expand its budget airline subsidiaries.
Strikes that take aim at company policy without concrete pay or benefits objectives in view are not allowed under German law.
The pilots' union Vereinigung Cockpit said Wednesday's ruling meant all pilots must immediately return to work. However, it remained unclear when flights would return to normal.
The strike had led on Wednesday to the cancelation of some 1,000 flights and the grounding of 140,000 passengers, Lufthansa said.
The decision by the regional court overturned an earlier verdict by the lower Frankfurt labor court, which on Tuesday evening had declined Lufthansa's request for an injunction.
Lufthansa subsidiary Germanwings has placed a similar request at a labor court in Cologne, which also declined to issue an injunction. The higher state labor court of North Rhine-Westphalia is reconsidering an appeal, but has yet to announce its decision.
Pilots from the union laid down their work on Tuesday in what is the 13th strike inside 18 months at the airline.
The union and Lufthansa are embroiled in a longrunning dispute over pensions and a proposed austerity plan designed to allow the airline to reduce tariffs in a bid to better compete with budget companies such as Ryanair and easyJet.
The union has criticized Lufthansa's restructuring policy, which has seen the airline creating and expanding an Austria-based subsidiary, Eurowings, where pilots receive less pay. The subsidiary is taking over many routes formerly flown by Lufthansa in a bid to cut costs.
tj/ (Reuters, dpa, AFP)