Lufthansa strikes possible - pilots' union

International air travel has been hit by flight cancellations as much of the United States' eastern region battened down for the threatened impact of Hurricane Sandy. (Boris Roessler, AFP)
International air travel has been hit by flight cancellations as much of the United States' eastern region battened down for the threatened impact of Hurricane Sandy. (Boris Roessler, AFP)

Frankfurt - Lufthansa pilots could extend the two-day strike that started at 06:00 GMT on Tuesday, German pilots' union Vereinigung said, to step up pressure on management in their long-running dispute over cost cuts, retirement benefits and pay.

"We cannot rule out further strikes this week," union spokesman Markus Wahl said on Tuesday. "Strikes are possible in the following weeks as well."

Tuesday's strike affects long-haul passenger and cargo flights out of Germany from 06:00 GMT to 21:59 GMT, with a further 24-hour walkout on Wednesday targeting short-haul Lufthansa and Germanwings flights.

Lufthansa has cancelled 84 of about 170 long-haul flights planned for Tuesday from Frankfurt, Munich and Duesseldorf because of the strike. It expects several hundred to be cancelled on Wednesday and will publish a list of cancellations on Tuesday.

The latest action is the 13th strike in 18 months at Germany's largest airline in a row that initially started over retirement benefits and has since escalated to encompass Lufthansa's plans to expand low-cost operations under the Eurowings brand. Strikes have cost Lufthansa about €100m so far this year.

Lufthansa, which is trying to cut costs to better compete with budget rivals in Europe, has been able to keep some long-haul flights and its cargo flights running on Tuesday thanks to pilots offering to work during the strike.

Relations between management and Vereinigung Cockpit soured last week after talks broke down. The pilots have offered concessions, including a proposed increase in the average retirement age to 60 and a commitment to look at ways to reduce costs to a level comparable with easyJet. However, it also wants Lufthansa to stop moving jobs out of Germany as it seeks to expand low-cost operations.

Lufthansa made some concessions over the weekend in an effort to persuade the pilots to return to the negotiating table, but they were dismissed by the union as lacking in substance.

ZAR/USD
16.33
(-0.06)
ZAR/GBP
21.08
(-0.04)
ZAR/EUR
19.33
(-0.03)
ZAR/AUD
11.90
(-0.03)
ZAR/JPY
0.16
(-1.15)
Gold
1949.72
(+0.03)
Silver
26.74
(+0.09)
Platinum
928.80
(+0.44)
Brent Crude
43.52
(-0.32)
Palladium
2356.01
(+0.63)
All Share
54673.65
(-0.66)
Top 40
50399.16
(-0.59)
Financial 15
9841.32
(-2.14)
Industrial 25
72558.00
(-1.08)
Resource 10
55438.10
(+0.58)
All JSE data delayed by at least 15 minutes morningstar logo
Company Snapshot
Voting Booth
Do you think it was a good idea for the government to approach the IMF for a $4.3 billion loan to fight Covid-19?
Please select an option Oops! Something went wrong, please try again later.
Results
Yes. We need the money.
11% - 1300 votes
It depends on how the funds are used.
73% - 8622 votes
No. We should have gotten the loan elsewhere.
16% - 1898 votes
Vote