A renewed pilots’ strike will ground around 1,700 flights at European aviation giant Lufthansa today and tomorrow, the group said, as a long-running and costly battle over pay drags on.
Around 180,000 passengers will be affected by the walkout, Lufthansa said yesterday, after last-minute talks with pilots’ union Vereinigung Cockpit failed to reach a wages deal.
A spokesman for the group told AFP earlier that it would seek an injunction from a Munich labour court to block the strike, although a similar request was rejected by a Frankfurt court last week and the airline lost a second time at appeal.
The pilots’ union reported later that the court has rejected the injunction request.
The court had no immediate comment.
Pilots have been battling the German behemoth since April 2014 over pay.
During a two-day pause in the strike on Sunday and yesterday, Lufthansa offered the flight crew a 4.4% pay rise spread over two years, as well as a one-off payment equivalent to two months’ wages.
But pilots stuck to their demand of a pay rise of an average of 3.66% per year, retroactive for the past five years.
The latest round of industrial action, which started on Wednesday, is the 14th since April 2014.
While today’s walkout will only affect short-haul flights from Germany, tomorrow’s will see some long-haul services affected.
Lufthansa said the flight plan for today and tomorrow would bring the number of passengers affected over the week of strikes to more than 525,000, with 4,461 cancelled flights.
While it strives to slim down and fend off competition from low-cost rivals like Easyjet and Ryanair, Lufthansa has been snarled in long-running disputes with pilots and cabin crew over the past two years.
The airline reached a pay and conditions deal with cabin crew in July after they staged the firm’s longest-ever walkout in November 2015.
That seven-day stoppage saw 4,700 flights cancelled and more than half a million passengers grounded.
The deal with cabin crew also included a no-strike agreement until 2021 in exchange for job guarantees.
A Lufthansa pilot sports a button reading ‘strike’ on his uniform during a demonstration yesterday at Fraport airport in Frankfurt.