September 25, 2014 / 9:37 AM / in 3 years

Lufthansa pilots threaten strike as talks fail again

German airline Lufthansa aircrafts are parked during a pilots' strike at Munich's airport on September 10, 2014. REUTERS/Michaela Rehle

BERLIN (Reuters) - German pilots’ union Vereinigung Cockpit (VC) said it was planning further industrial action at Lufthansa (LHAG.DE) after talks over an early retirement scheme once again broke down.

The union, which has already held four strikes so far this year over the matter, said it would give notice of any strikes.

VC wants Lufthansa to maintain a scheme that allows pilots to retire early at the age of 55 and still receive up to 60 percent of their pay before regular pension payments start.

However, Lufthansa says that the scheme is no longer needed given increasing life expectancies and a recent court ruling that means pilots can now work until the age of 65.

Lufthansa urged the union against strike action. “We showed a willingness to compromise and offered further talks on the disputed questions,” a spokesman said.

The airline had made a more new offer to pilots last week that included more details of a proposed early retirement scheme, thus averting a planned strike at Frankfurt.

The threat of strikes by the German pilots brings more misery for European travellers, who have already been suffering disruption following a walkout by Air France (AIRF.PA) pilots, now into its second week.

To end that strike, Air France has offered to withdraw plans to expand the low-cost operations of its Transavia brand.

Reporting by Victoria Bryan; Editing by Maria Sheahan and Pravin Char

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