* UFO union calls on its members to strike from 0300 GMT to
* UFO union says strike could continue for very long time
* Lufthansa says will cancel 25 pct of flights during strike
* Lufthansa shares close up 0.5 percent, DAX index down 1.6
(Adds Lufthansa comment, paragraph 4)
By Peter Maushagen
FRANKFURT, Aug 30 Lufthansa passengers
face widespread flight disruption from Friday after cabin crew
representatives said they would start a series of strikes over
pay and cost-cutting measures at Germany's largest airline.
The UFO union, which represents around two-thirds of
Lufthansa's 19,000 cabin crew, late on Thursday called on its
members to strike from 0300 GMT to 1100 GMT on Friday in
"UFO calls on its members within Lufthansa to participate in
the strike in Frankfurt from 0500 to 1300 hours (local)," UFO
said in an emailed statement.
Lufthansa plans to cancel 64 flights, or 25 percent of the
flights during the duration of the strike, a spokesman said.
The strike would also lead to "unplanned delays", the
company said in a statement on its website. The airline planned
to operate a total of 840 flights on Friday.
Financial Times Deutschland had reported before cabin crew
members were preparing to hold the strikes in Frankfurt and
Munich, citing UFO sources. It said on its website the union was
discussing whether the strikes would also include Berlin.
The strikes come as Lufthansa cuts jobs and implements a
three-year cost-cutting programme to boost margins and finance
investment in planes in the face of a weakening economy, high
fuel costs and increased competition from low-cost carriers.
Germany's leading airline, which operates around 1,850
flights daily mostly from Frankfurt and Munich, needs to
generate more profit to pay for 17 billion euros ($21 billion)
of more fuel-efficient aircraft on order.
Lufthansa and the UFO union have been negotiating for 13
months, with the union demanding a 5 percent pay rise and
guarantees that Lufthansa will not outsource jobs and use more
temporary workers, as it has already done in Berlin.
Talks broke down on Tuesday, and while Lufthansa has called
for further negotiations, it maintains that cabin crew must
contribute to the cost-cutting programme.
"It may well be that this industrial action could continue
for a very long time," UFO said on its website.
UFO said the first wave of strikes would cover certain
airports, rather than nationwide action. It has previously
mentioned Berlin, Frankfurt and Munich as likely candidates.
"We do not want to give Lufthansa the opportunity to prepare
for the strike by getting replacement crews ready," UFO head
Nicoley Baublies told Reuters.
Lufthansa has previously said it would seek to keep
disruptions to a minimum by using cabin crew who were not part
of the union and by drafting staff from other units.
A spokesman for the airline said it had several strategies
to mitigate the impact of striking staff and would prioritise
Lufthansa estimates a nationwide strike on a busy day would
cost it millions of euros. Analysts have said costs could be
kept to around 5 million euros a day if flight cancellations
were kept to a few hundred.
($1 = 0.7982 euro)
(Reporting by Marilyn Gerlach, Peter Maushagen and Peter
Dinkloh; Editing by Mark Potter, Helen Massy-Beresford and