Lufthansa considers legal action over strike plans
Friday, April 19, 2013 - 01:49
April 19 - German airline Lufthansa says it's considering legal action after trade union Verdi called on thousands of workers to go on strike on Monday over pay conditions. Joanna Partridge reports
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More disruption on the horizon for Lufthansa passengers.
German trade union Verdi has called on thousands of workers at the airline to go on strike on Monday, to increase pressure on management over pay negotiations.
Lufthansa says it's considering legal action over the planned strike.
It would see workers walk out for a full day at several airports - including Frankfurt, Europe's third largest.
It would be the second strike in a month - staff staged a one-day walkout over pay on March 21st, forcing Lufthansa to cancel nearly 40% of its flights that day.
Verdi chief negotiator Christine Behle dismissed the pay offer that Lufthansa put forward on Wednesday, which would increase salaries by 1.2% from October, and by a further 0.5% a year later.
SOUNDBITE: Christine Behle, Verdi Chief Negotiator, saying (German):
"Our bargaining committee finds this offer completely unsatisfactory. We can imagine discussing a certain pay structure, or negotiating pay for longer periods of time, but the increases offered are completely inadequate."
Lufthansa says Monday's planned action would cost them tens of millions of euros, and goes far beyond a regular so-called "warning strike", which commonly occurs during German pay disputes, before an all-out strike is called.
Stefan Lauer is Lufthansa's Chief Negotiator.
SOUNDBITE: Stefan Lauer, Lufthansa's Chief Negotiator, saying (German):
"Our passengers are always at a disadvantage, we think it's important that the employees and everyone else who is taking part is aware of this. The management is trying to work constructively."
Lufthansa has successfully used the courts to stop previous strikes going ahead.
Just like other European airlines, Air France-KLM and SAS, Lufthansa is trying to keep staff costs down as it battles competition from low-cost carriers and fast-growing rivals in the Gulf.
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