Lufthansa pilots plan second strike this week

Lufthansa pilots plan second strike this weekLufthansa pilots plan a second strike in a week on Thursday targeting long haul services.

The planned walkout follows a two-day stoppage on Monday and Tuesday which stranded 150,000 passengers as almost half of all scheduled flights were affected.

Short and medium-haul flights and those of budget carrier Germanwings are not expected be caught up in tomorrow’s action – the tenth this year.

The latest walkout is planned between 3am and midnight.

“During the strike period disruptions of Lufthansa long-haul flights are expected,” the airline said, adding that a special timetable was being introduced.

Pilots’ union Vereinigung Cockpit (VC), representing about 5,400 Lufthansa pilots, is fighting to retain a scheme allowing them to retire at 55 and still receive up to 60% of their pay before regular pension payments start at 65.

“We cannot keep doing this for the next year or two, we need to sit down and find a solution,” a Lufthansa spokeswoman told Reuters.

But pilots show no sign of backing down, with VC board member Joerg Handwerg saying it could continue industrial action into next year.

Lufthansa has said it would not accept a demand that new pilots, as well as those already with the company, should be able to retire at 55.

The airline said: “Lufthansa is convinced that sustainable solutions will only be found at the negotiation table. The two sides have got a lot closer over recent weeks. Lufthansa remains open to negotiation and calls on the Vereinigung Cockpit pilots’ union to return to the negotiation table.”

The industrial action has already wiped €160 million off Lufthansa’s operating profit and the airline lowered its profit guidance for 2015 for a second time in October, increasing pressure to find an end to the dispute.

Sourced from Travel Weekly

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