Lufthansa makes concession in cabin crew pay row

Fri Sep 7, 2012 12:00pm EDT
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By Peter Maushagen and Victoria Bryan

FRANKFURT (Reuters) - Lufthansa on Friday offered permanent contracts to some temporary cabin crew in an attempt to end a run of strikes which has caused the cancellation of over 1,000 flights and cost the German airline over 10 million euros.

"We hope that this step will help UFO to join us in constructive talks to come up with a competitive pay structure for cabin crew," Lufthansa Chief Executive Christoph Franz said in a statement.

The concession came after both sides agreed to meet for talks on Friday as the third strike in eight days and the biggest to date brought fresh disruption across Germany.

Lufthansa has been resisting union 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 ($1.9 billion) by 2014.

The airline said on Friday it would stop using flight attendants employed on temporary contracts by Aviation Power, a separate company which supports Lufthansa's Berlin operations, and offer them permanent jobs within the Lufthansa group next year.

UFO representatives were not immediately available for comment as they were in the meeting with Lufthansa.

Union head Nicoley Baublies had earlier said UFO was not planning any further strikes beyond Friday and that he wanted to try to end what he described as "trench warfare".

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