Lufthansa pilots threaten more strikes | Business | Economy and finance news from a German perspective | DW | 02.09.2015

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Lufthansa pilots threaten more strikes

Lufthansa pilots have said they could engage in more strike action soon, following failed collective bargaining negotiations with management. Union officials said the airline's executives had turned down a savings plan.

Members of the German pilots' union Vereinigung Cockpit (VC) said Wednesday top-level talks with Lufthansa CEO Carsten Spohr had failed to make progress on a long-sought collective bargaining agreement.

VC spokesman Markus Wahl indicated more industrial action might be around the corner.

Since spring 2014, pilots of Germany's flag carrier have staged strikes on 12 occasions, causing the airline a loss of more than 300 million euros ($340 million) and frustrating thousands of travelers.

"As of now, more strike action at Lufthansa, Lufthansa Cargo and Germanwings has to be expected," Wahl said in a statement.

Protracted quarrel

Negotiations have been centering on the future of an in-house early retirement scheme for 5,400 pilots and the company's medium- and long-term strategy. The pilots' union said management had rejected what it described as a proposal to save 500 million euros.

"When the company turns down our savings scheme it shows that management is not interested in improving market conditions, but rather in undermining tariff-based deals and outsourcing jobs abroad," Wahl said.

At the same time, VC said it rejected Lufthansa's plans to pay lower wages for pilots working for Lufthansa's budget subsidiary Eurowings.

Lufthansa executives maintained they'd not rejected VC's offer. Rather, they had suggested debating various aspects of the proposal in separate working groups. The company called on the union to resume talks, adding that more strikes would harm both customers and the workforce.

hg/sgb (dpa, Reuters)