Lufthansa pilots strike over retirement benefits


Lufthansa employees are striking for 48 hours in a dispute over retirement benefits.

Lufthansa, which is in the midst of a cost-cutting plan and trying to set up new low-cost units to battle competition, has proposed increasing the retirement age for pilots from 55 to 60 under the terms of its retirement scheme.

The organisation also wants employees to start contributing to its pension scheme.

The airline organisations’ employees are fighting these plans and want to maintain a retirement scheme that gives pilots the option to retire from the age of 55 and still receive up to 60% of their pay until age 60.

This is the fifth strike carried out by the pilots’ union Vereinigung Cockpit (VC), which represents most of Lufthansa’s 5,400 pilots, since the end of August.

The strike will affect cargo flights operated by Lufthansa Cargo and will run for from 8 October to 9 October. 

A Lufthansa spokesperson said: “Our aim must be to work together to safeguard Lufthansa’s competitiveness in an extremely difficult market environment.

“In order to have sufficient time to do so, Lufthansa announced several months ago that the transitional benefits for pilots will remain in place until 2016.

“We have demonstrated a willingness to negotiate and have put forward new, improved proposals. We will do our utmost to operate as many freighter services as possible.

”The airline therefore has little understanding for this renewed call to a strike and also considers it entirely out of proportion.”

A Vereeniging Cockpit Union spokesperson said: “Since Lufthansa management insists on largely unchanged maximum demands for months, the VC looks to force other measures.

“The VC is always ready to avert strike ands calls for Lufthansa to finally send signals that allow resumption of constructive negotiations.”