FRANKFURT AM MAIN, , (Pakistan Point News - APP - 14th Nov, 2016 ) - German pilots' union Vereinigung Cockpit on Monday called for a new strike against airline Lufthansa as a long-smouldering dispute over pay reignited. "Expect industrial action at Lufthansa and Lufthansa Cargo," the group said in a statement, adding that it would give 24 hours' notice of the extent and duration of any strike. Cockpit demands a pay rise of an average of 3.66 percent per year, retroactive for the past five years.
The union says pilots have endured a wage freeze over that time and suffered a "significant loss of purchasing power" due to inflation, while Lufthansa has made billions in profits. Lufthansa labelled the decision to strike "incomprehensible" via Twitter after the pilots' organisation announced what will be its 14th strike since April 2014. Lufthansa had earlier said that it had offered Cockpit the chance to take the dispute before independent mediators.
2015 was an annus horribilis for Lufthansa, with repeated walkouts costing it hundreds of millions of Euros. Europe's largest airline has fought disputes with pilots, cabin staff and ground crew over the past two years as it tries to cut costs in the face of no-frills competitors in the EU on one hand and Gulf nations' airlines on the other. It reached a deal with 19,000 cabin staff in July, after a week-long strike in November 2015, the longest in Lufthansa history, forced it to cancel 4,600 flights that impacted more than half a million passengers. But cabin staff at low-cost subsidiaries Germanwings and Eurowings were not covered by the accord and staged their own walkout in October. November 2015 also saw Lufthansa reach a wages and pensions deal with some 33,000 ground crew.