Pilots at Germany's Lufthansa vote for strike

Fri Mar 21, 2014 9:34am EDT
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By Kirsti Knolle and Victoria Bryan

FRANKFURT (Reuters) - German airline Lufthansa (LHAG.DE: Quote) is facing more strike woes after pilots voted to bolster their demands for better pay and working conditions with industrial action.

More than 90 percent of the German flagship carrier's pilots voted in favor of going on strike, union Vereinigung Cockpit (VC), which represents about 5,400 Lufthansa pilots, said on Friday.

"No one of us really wants to strike and we've been negotiating very patiently, but our patience has run out," the pilots' chief negotiator Thomas von Sturm told journalists.

VC board member Ilona Ritter said the union had not set a date yet for the strike, to give Lufthansa time for a new offer, but did not plan, for now, to call it over the Easter holidays.

Lufthansa's passengers were among the worst affected by a strike by security staff at Frankfurt airport, the airline's home base, last month.

The carrier is in the middle of a restructuring programme, dubbed SCORE, which aims to improve operating profit by 1.5 billion euros compared with 2011.

It has already agreed pay deals with ground staff and cabin crew, leaving the pilots as the final major frontline staff group with which it has to reach agreement.

The current dispute concerns both pay increases and so- called 'transition contracts' awarded to pilots retiring before the legal pension age officially kicks in.   Continued...

Lufthansa planes are pictured at Frankfurt Airport February 22, 2010. REUTERS/Johannes Eisele