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Union ends Lufthansa wage strike

Latest update : 2008-08-01

Lufthansa has reached an agreement over pay with trade union Verdi, allowing an end to the strike Saturday by its ground and cabin staff which began on Monday and caused hundreds of flight cancellations.

German airline Lufthansa has reached a wage agreement with staff to end a strike that has caused hundreds of flight cancellations, both sides said on Friday.

Trade union Verdi said it planned to abandon the strike from early on Saturday after reaching the deal.

However, Lufthansa said on its website it would take two weeks before it returned to operating its normal flight schedule as checks to aircraft had been backed up during the strike. Some 90 percent of European flights would run in the next four days.

Under the deal, Lufthansa ground staff will get a 5.1 percent pay rise backdated to July 1 and a further 2.3 percent rise from July 2009. They will also receive a one-off payment, the airline said.

The deal would last 21 months and cabin staff pay would rise in line with that of ground staff, Lufthansa said, adding that it had to confirm this with the Ufo union.

Lufthansa shares were trading 0.61 percent higher at 14.86 euros by 0912 GMT, outperforming Germany's DAX blue-chip index, which was down 0.79 percent.

About 5,000 members of the Verdi services union started walkouts on Monday to press for an immediate 9.8 percent pay rise. Lufthansa had offered 6.7 percent over 21 months and a one-off payment.

Lufthansa has grounded planes because of a shortage of technical staff. Catering and freight workers and some check-in staff have also downed tools.

The airline said the cost of the strike had so far reached a double-digit million euros figure. On Wednesday, the group said soaring fuel costs and a possible weakening in demand were set to push earnings down this year.

Europe's biggest economy is experiencing a sharp rise in inflation and several unions are seeking bigger wage deals after restraint in recent years.

Lufthansa usually runs about 2,000 flights per day.

Date created : 2008-08-01