Lufthansa strike enters second day, massive disruptions expected

Written by on April 3, 2014

Lufthansa aircraft remained grounded for the second day on Thursday as pilots belonging to the union group “Cockpit” continued their protest against Germany’s largest carrier. The three-day strike action – the biggest in the company’s history – is expected to cost millions in lost revenue.

Lufthansa CEO Christoph Franz appealed to the company’s pilots to resume negotiations, both for the sake of the passengers and the company.

“I hope we can quickly resume talks and then find an acceptable compromise for both sides,” Franz told German newspaper “Bild” on Thursday.

“German airlines aren’t the only ones that can fly. There are alternatives and, for that reason, all who are involved [in this week’s strike] need to be clear about what’s at stake.”

Ahead of the strikes, . An estimated 425,000 passengers were expected to be affected by the strike, scheduled to last until midnight on Friday.

Pilots protest in Frankfurt

On Wednesday, pilots staged a protest outside of Frankfurt Airport, accusing the company of greed.

“Pilots take responsibility, fat cats take the profits,” one sign read. Another read “Nonstop PROFIT.”

Lufthansa generated a net profit of 313 million euros ($432 million) last year. Meanwhile, it wants to slash costs by 1.5 billion euros in a bid to boost its profits.

Union pilots are demanding higher wages, claiming the German airline had failed to make a negotiable offer over the two years they have been in talks.

The pilots are also protesting cuts to so-called “transition contracts.” Under the early retirement agreements, pilots have the option to stop flying at the age of 55 and receive up to 60 percent of their gross earnings until they reach the legal retirement age. Not only does Lufthansa plan to raise the age to 60, but it also wants to change the rules so that entry-level pilots begin paying a portion of the transitional retirement fund.

kms/lw (AP, AFP, Reuters, dpa)

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