New Lufthansa pilots' strike to begin Monday: Union

A leading German pilots' union has called a fresh walkout at Lufthansa starting Monday in an ongoing dispute with the airline over retirement benefits.

Berlin: A leading German pilots' union has called a fresh walkout at Lufthansa starting Monday in an ongoing dispute with the airline over retirement benefits.

The strike will target short- and medium-haul flights across Germany from midday tomorrow until just before midnight Tuesday, the Vereinigung Cockpit (VC) union said in a statement.

At the same time some 2,750 air crew for the Portuguese airline TAP staged their third strike in a month demanding better working conditions.

Lufthansa said long-haul flights across the country and its cargo services would also be affected Tuesday from 0730 GMT until just before midnight GMT.

Lufthansa's low-cost subsidiary Germanwings will not be part of the strike, it added.

The union said it was down to the management of Lufthansa, Europe's biggest airline, that "despite all efforts for compromise proposals" by the pilots in several rounds of negotiations since October, the dispute could not be resolved.

The pilots are defending themselves "resolutely" against the proposed changes to the early retirement scheme that the airline wants to phase out to reduce costs, it said.

At present, pilots are allowed to retire at 55 and receive up to 60 per cent of their pay until they reach the statutory retirement age, which is currently 65.

Lufthansa pilots have already staged nine walkouts since April, forcing thousands of flight cancellations and taking a heavy toll on the company's earnings.

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