The dispute centered on the airline’s plan to cut early retirement plans of workers.
Air travellers in Germany on Wednesday faced massive disruptions after pilots for Lufthansa Airline launched the biggest strike in the flag carrier’s history.
Reports said the dispute centered on the airline’s plan to cut early retirement plans of workers.
According to the reports, Lufthansa had announced that it was cancelling 3,800 flights between Wednesday and Friday, calling on the 425,000 passengers hit by the three-day industrial action to make alternative arrangements.
This will help to avert chaos at major airports as the strike gets underway, officials said.
The airline’s low-cost carrier, German wings, said it was also cutting more than half of its planned 1,332 services and that Lufthansa Cargo is affected.
Both Lufthansa and the pilots’ union, the Vereinigung Cockpit, said there were no signs of fresh moves to end the strike.
The airline is in the middle of rolling out a three-year, 1.5-billion-euro (2.07billion dollar) cost-cutting drive as it faces up to stiff global competition, including from new Middle Eastern-based carriers.
“Stop the profit greed” is Vereinigung Cockpit’s slogan for its industrial campaign, with the union questioning who has benefited from the airline’s profit.
Lufthansa booked a net profit of 313 million euros (432 million dollars) last year.
Many of the pilots attending Wednesday’s strike meeting in Frankfurt were wearing badges reading “Non-stop profit,” mocking Lufthansa’s ad campaign called “Non-stop You.”
The 5,400 Lufthansa pilots want the airline to reintroduce transition contracts that gave them the option of finishing flying at the age of 55.
Under the contract, pilots would receive up to 60 per cent of their gross earnings until they reach the legal retirement age of 65.
At the same time, pilots could demand for a 10-per-cent wage increase over two years.
The airline is offering a one-off plus increase of 5.16 per cent over a five-year period.
Reports said Lufthansa’s action on the early retirement provisions remained the focus of the pilots in their three-day strike.
This was the second time in a week that Lufthansa had been hit by industrial action.
The airline was forced to cancel about 600 services last week after ground staff, baggage handlers and maintenance workers walked off the job at major German airports in a public sector pay dispute.
While the pilots have pledged not to strike over this month’s Easter holidays in Germany, they have not ruled out further action if there is no progress in the talks with the airline.
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