Lufthansa strikes loom after cabin crew talks fail

Tue Aug 28, 2012 9:42am EDT
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By Peter Maushagen

FRANKFURT (Reuters) - Passengers of German airline Lufthansa (LHAG.DE: Quote) faced hundreds of possible flight cancellations after cabin crew representatives outlined strike plans for the next few weeks following the collapse of last-ditch pay talks.

The UFO union, which represents 18,000 Lufthansa flight attendants, said on Tuesday it would give only a few hours' notice for most strikes, raising the threat of flight disruption.

UFO head Nicoley Baublies said the first strike could come as early as Wednesday and focus on selected airports. "We could hold the strike for five or six hours at a time at selected airports," he said.

The dispute is the latest for Lufthansa as it grapples with rising costs, tough competition and economic uncertainties.

Costs of a drawn-out stoppage could quickly mount for the airline, which said in 2010 a four-day strike by pilots would cost it 25 million euros ($31.3 million) a day in lost revenue.

"The cost could reach millions on a day with a lot of traffic," Lufthansa board member for passengers business Peter Gerber told reporters on Tuesday.

Gerber said Lufthansa had offered a package equating to a pay rise of about 3.5 percent.

"Given the difficult competitive environment we demand all staff to make their contribution," he said, pointing to the need to slow down pay rises and extend working hours.   Continued...

Passengers of German air carrier Lufthansa queue at a baggage drop-off at Fraport airport in Frankfurt August 28, 2012. REUTERS/Kai Pfaffenbach