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Strike forces Lufthansa to cancel flights

Tuesday, September 04, 2012 - 02:05

Sep.04 - Lufthansa, Germany's biggest airline, cancelled hundreds of flights during the second walkout by cabin crew over pay and conditions, which analysts predict could cost the airline between 5 and 10 million euros a day. Joanna Partridge reports

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Not taking off any time soon. Lufthansa cancelled hundreds of flights again on Tuesday, as its cabin crew held a second round of strikes. This time the walkout over pay and conditions was widened out from its Frankfurt hub to Berlin and Munich. The previous strike by members of the UFO trade union on Friday left 26,000 passengers stranded. The spokesman for Germany's biggest airline, Klaus Walther, says it's been difficult for the company to reduce the strike's impact. SOUNDBITE: Klaus Walther, Lufthansa spokesman, saying (German): "We are ready to talk. We have offered UFO several chances to return to the negotiating table. We haven't left the negotiating table. We are asking UFO to resume talks with us immediately and not to take their pay disputes out on our passengers." Talks between the airline and the trade union lasted for over a year without agreement, before they broke down a week ago. The next step could be full day strikes, says UFO head Nicoley Baublies. SOUNDBITE: Nicoley Baublies, Head of UFO union, saying (German): "If this arrogance continues then we'll stop the strikes which have a time limit, and especially the strikes which are restricted to certain places. At some point in the next few days we'll have to say that Germany will be at a standstill for 24 hours." Analysts believe the strikes could cost Lufthansa between 5-10 million euros a day. But according to some estimates, that could jump to as much as 50 million if all flights are shut down. Germany has previously had fairly harmonious labour relations, especially compared with its European neighbours like France. But its airlines and airports have seen a string of disputes in recent years. Companies like Lufthansa have been battling to cut costs as they're hit by soaring fuel prices, an air travel tax, passengers cutting spending and increased competition from the Middle East's fast-growing airlines. Joanna Partridge, Reuters

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Strike forces Lufthansa to cancel flights

Tuesday, September 04, 2012 - 02:05