Lufthansa and pilots union break off pay talks

An aircraft of German air carrier Lufthansa flies beyond the A-Plus terminal section at the Fraport airport in Frankfurt, Germany September 28, 2012. REUTERS/Lisi Niesner/File Photo

BERLIN (Reuters) - Germany's Lufthansa LHAG.DE and pilots' union Vereinigung Cockpit (VC) have broken off talks over pay and early retirement terms after months of negotiations, they said on Saturday.

While progress had been made on many points, both sides were unable to reach agreement on others, a Lufthansa spokesman said.

Lufthansa has been in talks with the pilots union for four years in a long-running dispute that has seen more than a dozen strikes hit one of Europe’s largest carriers.

The airline is trying to cut costs at its main brand in Germany in order to better compete with low cost rivals in Europe and fast-growing long-haul carriers such as Emirates[EMIRA.UL] and Turkish Airlines.

It has already agreed wide-ranging pay and pension deals with cabin crew and ground staff.

Union‎ representatives said in a letter to members seen by Reuters that it was willing to do its bit to make Lufthansa more competitive, but there was no point continuing the talks.

Lufthansa said it still believes that an agreement is possible and will do its utmost to resume talks with VC.

Reporting by Peter Maushagen; Writing by Andreas Cremer; Editing by Alexander Smith