April 22, 2015 / 4:28 PM / in 3 years

Lufthansa and pilots resume contact in labor dispute: union

FRANKFURT (Reuters) - Lufthansa (LHAG.DE) and the union representing pilots that have staged a series of a walkouts in a labor dispute with the German airline have resumed contact nearly a month after negotiations were put on hold.

A Lufthansa aircraft flies past the headquarters of Germanwings during take-off from Cologne-Bonn airport March 27, 2015. REUTERS/Wolfgang Rattay

Talks were halted after a plane operated by Lufthansa’s budget carrier Germanwings crashed in the French Alps, killing all 150 people aboard.

“There is contact (with the airline),” Ilja Schulz, president of pilots’ union Vereinigung Cockpit (VC), said on the sidelines of an event on Wednesday.

The row between the pilots and the airline involves early retirement benefits that VC wants to keep but Lufthansa wants to change for new employees. The pilots also want Lufthansa to enter mediation on issues including pay and cost cuts.

Lufthansa pilots have staged more than a dozen strikes over the past year, costing the airline more than 200 million euros ($214.6 million) in lost operating profit last year.

VC has held off from calling strikes since the Germanwings crash.

($1 = 0.9320 euros)

Reporting by Peter Maushagen; Writing by Maria Sheahan; Editing by David Goodman

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