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Lufthansa staff to stage strike on Monday

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Photo: DPA
09:35 CEST+02:00
German airline Lufthansa and air travellers across Germany face another day of disruption next week after unions on Friday called for a one-day walkout in an escalating pay dispute.

A month after Lufthansa was forced to cancel nearly 700 European flights due to half a day of warnings strikes, the giant services sector union Verdi called for a full day of walkouts on Monday after management failed to come up with up an acceptable pay offer after three rounds of talks.

Verdi is calling for a 5.2 percent pay increase for 33,000 Lufthansa ground staff, plus employees of the subsidiaries Lufthansa-Systems, Lufthansa Service Group (LSG), Lufthansa Technik and Lufthansa Cargo, as well as those cabin crew members who are Verdi members.

But the union complained that the offer tabled by management represented an increase 0.4 - 0.6 percent over a period of 12 months.

"For employees that is a sharp reduction in real pay and in no way acceptable," said Verdi board member Christine Behle.

The airports affected will be Frankfurt, Hamburg, Munich, Stuttgart, Hannover, Düsseldorf and Cologne, plus the Lufthansa site in Norderstedt, northern Germany.

Walkouts are planned for Berlin until 2:30 pm and in the morning in Nuremberg.

Verdi accused management of "playing with employees' fears about their future and their jobs" in refusing to make any concrete guarantees.

Furthermore, by refusing to back down on demands for longer working hours, a reduction of employees' Christmas bonus and its "scandalous offer, management is provoking another warning strike," Behle said.

"It is in management's hand to defuse the situation and pave the way for a solution," she added.

A spokesman for Lufthansa said the airline expected to announce its contingency plans at the weekend for the strike action.

"It's too early to say at this point how many flights will be cancelled," said spokesman Helmut Tolksdorf.

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Last month, some 700 out of a total 1,800 daily flights were cancelled.

Lufthansa shares were among the few losers on a generally firmer stock market on Friday, slipping 0.36 percent in late morning trade, while the overall DAX 30 index was up 0.49 percent.

AFP/jcw

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