German pilots union says fresh strikes imminent at Lufthansa
FRANKFURT (Reuters) - German pilots union VC said late on Friday that talks with carrier Deutsche Lufthansa (LHAG.DE: Quote) over early retirement benefits have broken down and that new strikes are possible any time.
"From now, strike action is to be expected again at any time at Lufthansa, Lufthansa Cargo and Germanwings," the union said in a statement.
The row is over proposed changes to an early retirement scheme for pilots that was developed decades ago, when they had to stop work at age 55.
"Unfortunately, Lufthansa's management has not seized upon our proposals for compromise and continues to insist on their maximum demands," the statement said.
The dispute between Germany's largest airline and the union has resulted in repeated strikes this year, affecting thousands of passengers.
Eight walkouts by staff this year wiped 160 million euros ($200 million) off the carrier's operating profit, adding to Lufthansa woes such as a stuttering global economy and increased competition.
As a result, Lufthansa last month lowered its profit guidance for 2015 for the second time this year, hitting its shares.
Passenger transport in Germany has also been disrupted by train drivers strikes this year. The latest walkout earlier this month thwarted travel plans of Germans planning to go by rail to celebrations marking the 25th anniversary of the Berlin Wall's fall.
Like the pilots, train drivers have not yet come to an agreement with their employers. Continued...