Lufthansa pilots to strike | Germany| News and in-depth reporting from Berlin and beyond | DW | 17.02.2010
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Lufthansa pilots to strike

Germany's flag carrier is bracing itself for massive delays and flight cancellations as pilots voted to go on a four-day strike starting Monday.

A row of Lufthansa airplanes

Lufthansa's last pilots' strike lasted four months

Pilots for German airline Lufthansa voted Wednesday to go on a four-day strike starting at midnight Monday, after negotiations for higher pay broke down in Frankfurt.

The strike is also expected to affect both Lufthansa's cargo operations and its low-cost subsidiary Germanwings.

Trade union Cockpit had been looking for a one-year salary agreement with a 6.4 percent pay increase, in addition to guarantees against outsourcing of jobs to lower-paid subsidiaries. Stalled talks over the pay increase fell apart in December after seven months.

More than 90 percent of the union representing Lufthansa pilots voted in favor of the action, which will involve the airline's 4,500 flight deck members.

Massive travel delays expected

The airline is bracing itself for massive delays and flight cancellations, similar to the disruptions experienced when a four-month strike crippled the fleet in 2001.

Lufthansa spokesperson Andreas Bartels told Deutsche Welle that the airline was already making preparation for the strike.

"We of course informed our customers, and on the domestic routes we offer them tickets for the railways, and rebooking on other airlines," said Bartels.

Lufthansa also plans to reorganize passengers from several smaller flights onto larger aircraft.

However, Lufthansa hasn't given up hopes for a compromise with the union, Bartels said.

"We are very open for negotiations. What we want is to come back to the table to find a constructive solution."

Germany's flag carrier has seen passenger numbers drop in the last year due to the economic downturn.

Editor: Andreas Illmer

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