Deal with union averts pilot strike at Germany's Lufthansa

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BERLIN (AP) — A union representing pilots at Lufthansa on Tuesday called off a planned two-day strike after a last-minute agreement with Germany's biggest airline in a pay dispute.

The Vereinigung Cockpit union had announced plans for a walkout on Wednesday and Thursday, calling on the company to make a “serious” offer in talks over pay increases. It would have been the second strike in a week after pilots staged a walkout Friday that led to hundreds of flights being canceled.

In hastily convened talks on Tuesday, the union said that the two sides agreed in principle on “an extensive package of monetary and structural issues” whose details would be thrashed out in the coming days.

The union then called off the strike. Before the talks, Lufthansa had said that it would have to decide by noon which flights to cancel in the coming days and a strike would have “massive consequences” for its flight plan.

It wasn't immediately clear what the agreement entails. Vereinigung Cockpit has called for a 5.5% raise for its members this year and an inflation-busting 8.2% increase in 2023. Pilots also have sought a new pay and holiday structure.

The airline has said those measures would increase its staffing costs by about 40%, or around 900 million euros over two years. Instead, it was offering a one-off increase of 900 euros (dollars), amounting to a 5% increase for senior pilots and an 18% increase for those starting the profession.

Strong unions have traditionally ensured good conditions for workers in Germany, using strikes to press their demands in labor disputes.

The Associated Press