German airline Lufthansa is seeking a court injunction to prevent a two-day flight attendants' strike planned by the Ufo trade union later this week, a company spokesman said on Tuesday.
The request has been submitted to the Frankfurt labour court, which will have to carry out a cursory assessment of whether the strike called for Thursday and Friday pursues collective bargaining goals.
It was not immediately clear whether the court proceedings would be held as early as Tuesday.
Ufo had earlier rejected an offer from Lufthansa to hold talks ahead of the strike.
‘We are not naive, the offer of talks from Lufthansa is a red herring meant for the general public,’ Ufo vice chairman Daniel Flohr told dpa.
Ufo has called for Lufthansa cabin crews to strike for 48 hours on flights leaving from Germany. It is demanding higher expenses and allowances for flight attendants, as well as easier access for seasonal staff to regular employment.
But the conflict between Lufthansa and Ufo also is about whether the trade union can still implement collective wage agreements for cabin crews.
Lufthansa believes that Ufo's current board is not authorized to represent the crew members. It has gone to labour court to check if the union can still conclude collective wage agreements, in proceedings scheduled for April.
Flohr demanded more signals from Lufthansa before considering a possible cancellation of this week's work stoppage.
‘As long as the company writes non-binding letters while at the same time maintaining ... procedures against Ufo, we do not see any changed attitude,’ he said.
For the first time in months, Lufthansa had on Monday indicated a willingness to enter into talks with Ufo.
The airline had proposed negotiations from February 15, when a newly elected Ufo board is due to take office. Before that, ‘procedural exploratory talks’ could be held in preparation, the company wrote in a letter to Ufo leaders.
‘Exploratory talks do not replace negotiations,’ Flohr said. ‘It is not enough to spend three and a half months discussing the place and time for appointments.’ The company plans to create a substitute flight schedule for the strike days by midday Wednesday and then publish it online.
Lufthansa announced on Tuesday that travellers with tickets booked during the strike can change them once for free to another flight of the Lufthansa Group within the next 10 days. Flights within Germany can also be switched to train tickets.
It does not matter whether the originally booked flight actually ends up being cancelled.
The Lufthansa Group says that it offers 1,540 connections daily on average. Of those, 580 departures are from Germany and around 380 are carried out by the Lufthansa core brand, which is being targeted by this strike.
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