FRANKFURT/BERLIN (Reuters) - Talks between Lufthansa (LHAG.DE) and its main cabin crew union have failed, the union said late on Saturday, raising the prospect of more strikes at the German carrier.
Lufthansa is in talks with various staff groups as it seeks to cut costs in order to compete better with low-cost carriers and Gulf rivals.
A long-running dispute with its pilots over pay and conditions has already resulted in more than a dozen strikes over a period of 18 months. Strikes so far this year have cost Lufthansa 130 million euros ($143 million) in lost profit.
The cabin crew union, which represents 19,000 staff, had given Lufthansa until Nov. 1 to put forward a better offer in long-running talks over pay, retirement benefits and working conditions.
Despite a constructive start to talks over the weekend, Lufthansa refused to reconfirm agreements it had previously made verbally, Nicoley Baublies, head of the union, told Reuters.
“Strikes are a possibility,” Baublies said, adding that the union would announce its next course of action on Monday. The union had previously threatened strikes over the summer, but agreed to restart talks after Lufthansa made some compromises.
Lufthansa said on Sunday that the offer it had made for retirement provisions was the best it could do without worsening its cost position further.
Bettina Volkens, head of personnel at the group, said the company could not make any compromises that did not lead to cost cuts.
“We have good results this year, but we haven’t solved our structural problems,” Volkens said.
Lufthansa earlier this week said it expected to make an operating profit of 1.75-1.95 billion euros this year, which would be the highest in its history, although it was helped by low fuel prices and a good summer for travel demand in Europe.
($1 = 0.9086 euros)
Reporting by Peter Maushagen and Victoria Bryan; Editing by Tom Heneghan