Lufthansa, cabin crew to resume talks over strikes

Fri Sep 7, 2012 7:43am EDT
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By Peter Maushagen and Victoria Bryan

FRANKFURT (Reuters) - The union representing striking cabin crew at Lufthansa (LHAG.DE: Quote) said it would resume talks on Friday afternoon with the airline in a bitter row over pay and conditions that led to a 24-hour strike on Friday, the biggest stoppage to date.

Speaking to protesters through a megaphone at Frankfurt's Terminal 1, UFO head Nicoley Baublies said he had telephoned Lufthansa to try to end what he described as "trench warfare".

Friday's Germany-wide stoppage was the third strike in eight days by cabin crew, which so far have resulted in hundreds of cancelled flights and cost Lufthansa over 10 million euros ($12.6 million).

Lufthansa is resisting UFO's demands for 5 percent pay increases and guarantees against outsourcing as it tries to slash costs in a plan to improve annual earnings by 1.5 billion euros by 2014.

"This dancing around must come to an end at some point, that's why I called up Lufthansa," Baublies said.

He said the union was planning no further strikes for the time being but was prepared to resume industrial action should Lufthansa management not move beyond "tactical game playing".

Germany's labor relations are usually more harmonious than in other countries such as France and Spain, but after years of enduring low wage growth, employees are fighting back.

In May, Germany's largest industrial union agreed to a 4.3 percent pay rise for 3.6 million car and engineering industry workers, their biggest pay rise since 1992.   Continued...

Members of German air carrier Lufthansa cabin crew union "UFO" take part in a demonstration during a strike outside a Lufthansa office building at the Fraport airport in Frankfurt, September 7, 2012. REUTERS/Kai Pfaffenbach