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Lufthansa pilots union rejects pay raise, but will suspend strike Saturday

Doug G. Ware

The pilots union for Lufthansa Airlines on Friday turned down a pay raise of 4.4 percent from the carrier, despite a four-day labor strike, because it said the increase includes concessions in retirement and other benefits. File Photo by Jim Bryant/UPI
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Striking pilots for German carrier Deutsche Lufthansa AG on Friday turned down a larger pay raise -- but said they will suspend their labor demonstration after Saturday.
The 5,400 pilots began their strike on Wednesday amid a dispute over their compensation package. The walkout forced the German airline to scrap 2,800 flights as of Friday, affecting about 345,000 passengers, Bloomberg reported Friday. Another 137 will be canceled Saturday, Lufthansa said.
The union was offered a pay increase of 4.4 percent -- almost double the 2.5 percent raise they were initially offered -- but the group said that deal is not worth accepting because the hike is offset with concessions in retirement, seniority bonuses and other benefits.
The union, however, said it will not extend its strike into a fifth day out of concern for Lufthansa's holiday traveling customers. However, it indicated the strike could resume next week.
The strike was originally set as a two-day event, but was extended to Friday and then Saturday. It will be suspended at midnight Saturday, the union said.
The pilots union has been seeking a 20 percent total pay raise from when its last contract expired in 2012 through next year -- which amounts to about 3.7 percent per year. The company, though, has balked at the proposal, saying such an increase would make some of their current routes unprofitable.
The labor strike is their 14th in the last two years and covers a longstanding dispute over pilots' pay.
"Lufthansa sincerely apologizes to its passengers for the inconvenience caused by the strike of the pilots union ... and will do everything possible to keep the impact as low as possible," the airline said in a statement.
Lufthansa also faces a labor dispute with crew members of its Eurowings subsidiary, which walked out on Tuesday and cost the airline millions in lost revenue and compensatory costs to stranded passengers.
Founded in 1953, Lufthansa is Germany's largest carrier and one of the largest airlines in Europe.
Lufthansa pilots union rejects pay raise, but will suspend strike Saturday Reviewed by Chidinma C Amadi on 12:03 AM Rating: 5

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