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“We Are Too Far Apart”: Lufthansa Pilots Reject Latest Pay Offer and Begin Readying for Strike Action

“We Are Too Far Apart”: Lufthansa Pilots Reject Latest Pay Offer and Begin Readying for Strike Action

The Lufthansa pilots union said it has rejected the latest pay offer tabled by the German flag carrier and was now readying for strike action. A spokesperson for the Vereinigung Cockpit union said the two sides were “too far apart” and that a highly damaging walkout could follow at any time.

Pilots at the airline have already voted overwhelmingly in favour of staging a strike if negotiations with the airline completely break down. With a turnout of 93 per cent, nearly 98 per cent of pilots at Lufthansa’s passenger airline voted in favour of strike action at the start of August.

Since then, the union and airline management have been trying to hammer out a deal in a series of face-to-face talks. The latest round of negotiations held over four days last week was a failure, but Lufthansa submitted an amended offer on Thursday.

Matthias Baier, spokesperson for the union said the offer was “insufficient”.

“Despite intensive discussions between our collective bargaining commission and the employer, no result could be achieved about a promising continuation of the negotiations,” Baier continued.

“Currently, we are too far apart. In addition to compensating for the real wage loss, we now need above all a sustainable solution for the remuneration structure in all occupational groups.”

In late July, Lufthansa suffered a one-day ‘warning strike’ by 20,000 ground workers which forced the airline to cancel 1,000 flights and left at least 134,000 passengers stranded.

The airline quickly returned to the negotiating table and reached a deal with the Ver.di United Services Union with wage increases of between 13.6 and 18.4 per cent based on seniority.

Lufthansa is also involved in wage talks with its cabin crew workforce.

Pilots last staged a 48-hour walkout in November 2016 which resulted in 1,700 flight cancellations. The walkout was the 14th such strike by pilots at the German carrier since 2014.

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