Lufthansa talks with pilots′ union over pay and retirement break down | News | DW | 13.08.2016
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Lufthansa talks with pilots' union over pay and retirement break down

Germany's Lufthansa airline and a pilots' union have broken off talks over pay and early retirement after months of negotiations. The two sides have been unable to reach agreement on a number of points.

The pilots' union representatives sent a letter to Vereinigung Cockpit (VC) members saying the union was willing to do its part to help make Lufthansa more competitive. But they added that the current differences meant there was no point in continuing the talks.

Lufthansa wants to raise the pilots' age for early retirement from 55 to 58, at which point they can collect 60 percent of their basic salary.

Despite the breakdown in talks, Lufthansa maintains that an agreement is still within reach and has vowed to press ahead with the aim of resuming talks.

The pilots' union broke off the talks, saying there was no point in continuing. The impasse is the latest in an ongoing labor dispute that now stretches back four years.

The long-running dispute has resulted in more than a dozen strikes - the last coming in September 2015 - at one of Europe's largest airlines. The strikes have reportedly cost the airline some 500 million euros ($560 million).

Progress has been made on numerous points, but Lufthansa and the VC pilots' union are still far apart on other issues. Pensions, salaries and job security remain sticking points in the labor dispute.

Facing increased competition

Lufthansa is facing growing competition on its long-haul flights from the likes of Emirates and Turkish Airlines. In response, it is seeking to cut costs at its parent brand in Germany in order to become more competitive with its long-haul flights and vis-à-vis low-cost rivals in Europe.

Lufthansa flight crew members during a nighttime picket with torches and candles; with an illuminated Lufthansa logo in the background.

Lufthansa flight crew members during a strike in 2015

The two sides have agreed to wide-ranging pay and pension deals for cabin crew and ground staff.

bik/jm (Reuters, dpa)

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