8 DECEMBER 2014
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Pilots at Lufthansa went on strike again last Thursday forcing the airline to cancel over half its long haul flights. On Monday and Tuesday there was a two-day stoppage. These short notice service disruptions are likely to continue.
Vereinigung Cockpit (VC), representing about 5,400 Lufthansa pilots, is fighting to retain a scheme allowing pilots to retire at 55 and still receive up to 60% of their pay before pension payments start at 65.
"We cannot keep doing this for the next year or two, we need to sit down and find a solution," Lufthansa spokeswoman Barbara Schaedler told Reuters.
Pilots however showed no sign of backing down, with VC board member Joerg Handwerg saying it could continue its walkouts into next year.
Lufthansa has said it would not accept a demand that new pilots, as well as those already with the company, should be able to retire at 55.
Under European Union law, pilots may legally fly until they are 65 but many airlines offer early retirement options.
British Airways pilots can take early retirement from 55, and those at KLM at 56.
The industrial action has already wiped €160m (US$200m) off Lufthansa's operating profit and regular passengers are seeking alternative airlines. www.lufthansa.com www.vcockpit.de
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