Deal with union averts pilot strike at Lufthansa

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Airplane, Pilots strike for Lufthansa Airlines
It would have been the second strike in a week after pilots staged a walkout on Friday that led to hundreds of flights being cancelled. (PA Photo)

A union representing pilots at Lufthansa on Tuesday called off a planned two-day strike after a last-minute agreement with Germany’s biggest airline in a pay dispute.

The Vereinigung Cockpit union had announced plans for a walkout on Wednesday and Thursday, calling on the company to make a “serious” offer in talks over pay increases.

It would have been the second strike in a week after pilots staged a walkout on Friday that led to hundreds of flights being cancelled.

In hastily convened talks on Tuesday, the union said that the two sides agreed in principle on “an extensive package of monetary and structural issues”, whose details would be thrashed out in the coming days.

The union then called off the strike.

Before the talks, Lufthansa had said that it would have to decide by noon which flights to cancel in the coming days and a strike would have “massive consequences” for its flight plan.

It was not immediately clear what the agreement entails.

Vereinigung Cockpit has called for a 5.5 per cent raise for its members this year and an 8.2 per cent increase in 2023. Pilots also have sought a new pay and holiday structure.

The airline has said those measures would increase its staffing costs by about 40 per cent, or about €900 million over two years.

Instead, it was offering a one-off increase of €900, amounting to a 5 per cent increase for senior pilots and an 18% increase for those starting the profession.

Strong unions have traditionally ensured good conditions for workers in Germany, using strikes to press their demands in labour disputes.

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