Union rejects Lufthansa's latest attempt to end costly strike

Mon Nov 9, 2015 1:35pm EST
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By Karolin Schaps

FRANKFURT (Reuters) - German cabin crew union UFO rejected a sweetened Lufthansa (LHAG.DE: Quote) pay offer late on Monday that was aimed at ending the airline's longest ever strike action that it said was costing it at least 10 million euros ($10.8 million) a day.

Lufthansa tried to win over striking cabin crew staff by increasing a one-off payment offer by 1,000 euros to 3,000 euros and promising a 1.7 percent pay rise next year and in 2017.

The union rejected the offer, saying it would go ahead with further strike action as planned for Tuesday which is set to affect more lucrative long-haul flights. Cancellations could continue until Friday.

More than 110,000 passengers at Lufthansa's Frankfurt hub and the cities of Munich and Duesseldorf were affected by the strike over early retirement benefits and pensions that grounded nearly 1,000 flights on Monday.

"The concrete damage will only be clear in the coming weeks when we know how many passengers claimed refunds, how many were rebooked, and how many passengers we accommodated at hotels," a spokesman told reporters at Frankfurt airport.

However, the losses were "clearly in the double-digit millions of euros," he added.

"We are very sorry that talks had to cumulate in strike action but negotiations reached a point where there was no alternative," the union said in a statement.

The walkouts began after Lufthansa and the cabin crew union failed to reach an agreement in a long-running dispute.   Continued...

Activists of cabin crew union UFO stage a protest in Frankfurt airport, Germany, November 6, 2015. REUTERS/Ralph Orlowski