Lufthansa calls on pilots' union to keep talking amid continued disruptions


Lufthansa pilots did not call a strike on Sunday for the first time in five days, but the company said that 35 flights still had to be canceled owing to disruptions caused by four days of industrial action by the Cockpit union.

A Lufthansa spokesman said the flight plan was otherwise “more or less” normal, and that if Cockpit did not call another strike for Monday, operations would run completely as usual as the week starts.

The union has said it will announce strikes at least 24 hours in advance.

So far, some 350,000 passengers have been affected in the last bout of work stoppages, with 2,755 flights canceled from Wednesday to Saturday. On Sunday, an additional eight flights were canceled in Munich, including five intercontinental flights, and 27 in Frankfurt, of which 14 were long-haul.

‘Uncompromising stance’

In comments to German paper “Bild am Sonntag,” Lufthansa personnel manager Bettina Volkens called on Cockpit to resume talks with the company.

Display showing cancelled flights (picture-alliance/dpa/M. Balk)

Thousands of passengers have been affected

“We have to talk,” she told the paper. “I hope very much that Cockpit finally changes their uncompromising stance..”

A compromise that both sides could live with was necessary, she said, adding that such an agreement “cannot be forced by strikes.”

Cockpit has so far remained deaf to all such  appeals, on Friday rejecting a new proposal by the company and stressing that the strike action was so far without an end date.

‘No movement’

Cockpit spokesman Jörg Handwerg said the proposal had already been presented two months ago, and described it as a “PR trick.”

He told Reuters news agency that there “was no movement toward us from Lufthansa’s side” and that without a “negotiable” offer strikes would still be possible.

Cockpit wants an average annual pay increase of 3.7 percent for 5,400 pilots over a five-year period dating back to 2012 until May 2017. Lufthansa has offered to increase wages by 4.4 percent in two installments, as well as a one-off payment worth 1.8 months’ pay.

The wage dispute has been running for some two and a half years.

tj/sms (Reuters, AFP, dpa)