Lufthansa faces new strike after talks with pilots fail | Business| Economy and finance news from a German perspective | DW | 25.09.2014
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Lufthansa faces new strike after talks with pilots fail

Lufthansa pilots have threatened further industrial action after talks with management broke down. What would be the fifth walkout at the German flag carrier this year centers on pilots' retirement benefits.

German pilots' union Vereinigung Cockpit (VC) announced Thursday that talks with Lufthansa over early retirement provisions had collapsed. As a result, a new wave of strikes could be expected "with immediate effect," VC said.

"Cockpit regrets that negotiations have failed once again," the union said in a statement, accusing management of not wanting to reach an agreement.

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The 5,400 pilots employed at Lufthansa, its budget subsidiary Germanwings, and Lufthansa Cargo demand that the airline should keep an existing retirement benefit scheme that allows pilots to retire at the age of 55.

The pilots are fighting a plan by Lufthansa management to raise the minimum retirement age, and to involve pilots in the financing of their pensions.

Lufthansa pilots have already staged industrial action four times this year, idling a total of 4,300 flights that left 480,000 passengers stranded. VC called off planned strike action earlier this month after the airline reopened negotiations on the scheme.

After the new talks collapsed on Thursday, Lufthansa insisted that it had "signaled its willingness to compromise" and offered to talk about the contentious points.

"We appeal to the union not to go ahead with more industrial action and to return to the negotiating table," the company's spokesman said.

However, no new date for further negotiations has so far been set.

uhe/nz (dpa, AFP, AP)