Published: Fri, November 25, 2016
Economy | By Melissa Porter

Pilots at Germany's Lufthansa launch 2-day strike

The pilots' union Vereinigung Cockpit extended the strike into Thursday after initialing saying that it would strike only on Wednesday.

Last year, a strike by flight attendants forced Lufthansa to cancel about 4,700 flights over seven days.

The industrial action was called by Germany's biggest services union, Verdi, in a row over pay and working conditions.

German airline Lufthansa canceled almost 900 flights on Wednesday and scrapped another 912 scheduled for Thursday after pilots launched a two-day strike in a pay dispute.

The company canceled 876 of the Lufthansa group's planned 3,000 flights on Wednesday, among them 51 long-haul flights, and said that around 100,000 passengers were affected.

"Lufthansa regrets the inconvenience caused by the (pilots) strike and will try to minimise the impact on its passengers", the airline said in a statement. In response, Lufthansa cancelled 912 flights, including 82 long-haul flights, affecting 115,000 passengers.

"Lufthansa management has shown no sign that it is willing to move and has not provided an offer that could serve as a basis for negotiations", VC board member Joerg Handwerg said.

Lufthansa group's other airlines - Germanwings, Swiss, Austrian Airlines, Air Dolomiti and Brussels Airlines - are not affected by the strike.

According to Reuters, Lufthansa later asked a court to issue a temporary injunction to avert the strike.

The Lufthansa pilots going on strike are demanding a pay rise of an average of 3.66 percent per year, retroactive for the past five years. "We can of course call off the strikes at any time but Lufthansa must show a willingness to budge".

Lufthansa, led by CEO Carsten Spohr, insists that despite a record profit in 2015, it has no choice but to cut costs to compete with leaner rivals such as Ryanair on short-haul routes and Emirates on long-haul flights.

Lufthansa, which can be facing growing competition from budget competitions, offered a 2.5% increase over the six years until 2019.

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