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Lufthansa ends lengthy pilot labour dispute

German airline Lufthansa ended a long-running dispute with its pilots late on Thursday with an agreement that included a wage freeze, both parties announced.

Lufthansa ends lengthy pilot labour dispute
Photo: DPA

The pilots’ union Cockpit said in a statement that the agreement would safeguard jobs, and had looked after “the interests of the pilots for avoiding outsourcing jobs abroad.” The wage freeze will last until March 2011.

Union members will vote on the arrangement on July 20.

Arbiter and former Hamburg mayor Klaus von Dohnanyi had been working with the two sides since April to find a solution in the long-running dispute.

The conflict between Lufthansa and its 4,500 pilots has been bitter, with pilots seeking better working conditions and job protection in the face of a threat from lower-cost subsidiaries.

A one-day strike in February cost Lufthansa €48 million, but Cockpit agreed to call off a second strike in April and return to the negotiating table.

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CHRISTMAS

Strikes hit Amazon in Germany in the run up to Christmas

Around 2,500 Amazon employees at seven sites across Germany were on strike on Tuesday and unions warned stoppages could continue up to Christmas.

Amazon parcel in factory
A parcel rolls along a conveyor belt at an Amazon packing facility in Gera, Thuringia. Photo: picture alliance/dpa/dpa-Zentralbild | Bodo Schackow

The strikes at so-called “fulfilment” centres, where Amazon prepares packages before delivery, began in two locations on Monday.

The Verdi union is calling on Amazon for an “immediate” salary increase of three percent this year, followed by a further 1.7 percent next year, in line with a collective agreement for the retail sector, to which the e-commerce giant does not adhere.

Amazon could not continue to “refuse wage increases that other companies in the sector pay”, Verdi retail head Orhan Akman said in a statement Monday.

Amazon, which operates 17 centres in Germany, argues it is a logistics company, a sector in which the terms of work are considered to be less burdensome for the employer.

Amazon said it did not expect the strike to have an impact on clients.

However, a Verdi spokesman said the stoppage could cause disruption, particularly in Amazon’s rapid-delivery “Prime” offering.

Strikes were likely to continue “until the end of the year”, the spokesman said, impacting on the busy Christmas shopping period.

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Verdi, which first called for strikes at Amazon in May 2013, organised demonstrations outside the fulfilment centres on Tuesday to protest poor working conditions.

Amazon — which has seen its business boom during the coronavirus pandemic as consumers increasingly shopped online — announced in September that it would open eight new centres in Germany, creating 3,000 jobs by 2022.

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