Lufthansa cancels almost 900 flights | Business| Economy and finance news from a German perspective | DW | 22.11.2016
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Lufthansa cancels almost 900 flights

Germany's flag carrier, Lufthansa, has canceled hundreds of flights ahead of a 24-hour strike on Wednesday by the airline's pilots. The pilots' union had called the strike amid a protracted dispute over salaries.

Germany's flag carrier, Lufthansa, said Tuesday it had canceled a total of 876 flights ahead of a pilot strike scheduled for the whole of Wednesday. 

The airline said some 100,000 passengers would be affected by the cancellations, adding that it would try to find flights with other airlines for its customers or "alternative modes of transport."

The 24-hour walkout, which was announced by union representatives on Monday, is meant to increase pressure on Lufthansa's management, in the context of a long-running pay dispute.

The pilots' union, called Vereinigung Cockpit (VC), said the strike would run for 24 hours from midnight.

Lufthansa's 5,400 pilots remain unhappy about management's reported offer to raise their wages by 2.5 percent by 2018.

The pilots have been fighting for a hefty 22-percent pay hike over five years, covering the period between 2012 and 2017. 2012 was the year when their last wage agreement with Lufthansa ended.

Pilots said a big wage hike was justified, "given the billions upon billions of euros the airline has pocketed in profits in recent years."

Lufthansa said on Tuesday it was seeking an injunction to stop the pilots' strike. A spokesman said an employment tribunal in Frankfurt will decide later on Tuesday whether the strike can go ahead.

Wednesday will mark the 14th strike at Lufthansa during the current wage negotiations between management and the union, which also represents the interests of pilots working for Lufthansa subsidiaries LH Cargo and Germanwings.

Industrial action by Eurowings cabin crews 

In a separate strike action, Lufthansa's low-budget subsidiary Eurowings canceled some 60 domestic and short-distance flights on Tuesday after the public-sector union Verdi had called a one-day strike over a protracted labor dispute with management. The no-frills carrier said long-haul flights were not be affected.

Fifty out of Tuesday's 88 scheduled Eurowings flights from Düsseldorf airport were canceled right away, with another seven flights canceled at Hamburg Airport.

Eurowings announced on its website that no flights would be canceled at Germanwings and Sunexpress. Verdi said the strike was called as cabin crews remained unhappy about current pay structures and working conditions. Executives criticized the strike, saying that the union had not officially declared that current negotiations between management and employees' representatives had failed.

hg/jd (Reuters, dpa)

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