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Lufthansa pilots announce two-day freight flight strike

File picture shows planes flown by German airliner Lufthansa parked at Duesseldorf airport on March 13, 2014/AFP

File picture shows planes flown by German airliner Lufthansa parked at Duesseldorf airport on March 13, 2014/AFP

FRANCFORT, October 7- Lufthansa pilots late Monday announced their fifth strike since the end of August, this time grounding freight flights in Germany over a dispute surrounding retirement benefits.

Pilots of Lufthansa Cargo will stage a walkout from 0100 GMT on Wednesday to 2030 GMT on Thursday and will “not operate any flight departing from German airports”, their union Cockpit said in a statement.

Other recent strikes carried out by the union have affected passenger flights, with the latest on September 30 hitting 20,000 travellers.

Cockpit says the German airline’s management has been “stubbornly maintaining” its retirement reform plans, leaving the union with no choice but to launch new strikes.

Managers, however, said that they have “shown readiness to reach a compromise in discussions with Cockpit and had proposed new negotiations on the disputed questions”.

“In these conditions, this new call for work stoppage is neither comprehensible nor reasonable,” the management said in a statement.

Lufthansa pilots can currently take paid early retirement from the age of 55. They are fighting a plan by the airline to raise the minimum age and to involve pilots in the financing of their pensions.

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