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Lufthansa hit by new pilots’ strike on long-haul, freight services

Wing of a Lufthansa plane/FILE

Wing of a Lufthansa plane/FILE

GERMANY, Sep 7 – Pilots at German airline Lufthansa said Monday they will stage new walkouts on freight and long-haul passenger services on Tuesday in their long-running dispute with management over early retirement provisions.

The strike, the 13th in 18 months, will begin at 0600 GMT and last until 2200 GMT. It will only affect the Lufthansa parent company, not the other airlines within the group, the pilots’ union Vereinigung Cockpit said in a statement.

Union and management have been embroiled in a bitter dispute since April 2014 over management plans to change the pilots’ early retirement arrangements.

The dispute hinges on plans by Lufthansa to scrap an arrangement under which pilots can retire at 55 and receive up to 60 percent of their pay until they reach the statutory retirement age of 65.

Pilots are also concerned about Lufthansa’s aim to further develop its low-cost activities as it faces growing competition.

Following the horrific crash of a jet belonging to Lufthansa’s low-cost subsidiary Germanwings in March, the union suspended industrial action. And talks with management have resumed in recent months.

Cockpit said Monday that it has made substantial concessions and accused management of seeking to “smash wage-agreement structures and demolish protective mechanisms in order to weaken the union.”

Lufthansa, which also owns Swiss and Austrian Airlines, has embarked on a massive reorganisation, farming out much of its domestic and medium-haul services to its low-cost airline division, Germanwings.

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