Lufthansa arbitration talks to end mid-November: source

Sun Nov 4, 2012 10:37am EST
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FRANKFURT (Reuters) - Tense mediation talks between Lufthansa (LHAG.DE: Quote) and cabin crew over pay and conditions should reach a conclusion in mid-November, although it is not clear whether they will be successful, a source close to the negotiations said on Sunday.

"We believe there will be something to announce on November 13. Whether an agreement or a failure," said the person, who declined to be identified as the talks are confidential.

The differences between the two sides are glaring, the person said, adding that the negotiations were tough.

German magazine Focus earlier reported that the mediation talks had come close to failing several times already.

A spokesman for Lufthansa declined to comment, citing the confidentiality agreement.

Should the talks fail, it could mean strikes at Germany's largest airline in the run-up to Christmas, the magazine said.

The two sides had negotiated for 13 months when initial talks broke down over the summer.

The resulting walkouts by cabin crew forced Lufthansa to cancel over 1,000 flights, causing it tens of millions of euros in losses.

Lufthansa is currently in the middle of a program to lower costs to improve profit by 1.5 billion euros by 2015 and wants cabin crew to contribute.   Continued...

An aircraft of German air carrier Lufthansa stands in front of the newly built A-Plus terminal section at the Fraport airport during a guided media tour in Frankfurt September 28, 2012. A-Plus will officially open on October 2. REUTERS/Lisi Niesner