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Lufthansa, UFO To Resume Negotiations Over Cabin Crew Strikes

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Lufthansa, UFO To Resume Negotiations Over Cabin Crew Strikes

The head of labor union Unabhaengige Flugbegleiter Organisation (UFO), Nicoley Baublies, told protestors that he had contacted Deutsche Lufthansa AG (ETR:LHA) (PINK:DLAKY) (FRA:LHA) in an attempt to end the strike. He said UFO will resume talks on Friday afternoon. They had been negotiating over pay hikes and outsourcing of jobs for the last 13 months. Talks broke down on August 28, resulting into three Germany-wide strikes by cabin crew members.

“This dancing around must come to an end at some point, that’s why I called up Lufthansa,” Baublies said. Deutsche Lufthansa AG (ETR:LHA) (PINK:DLAKY) (FRA:LHA) had to cancel over a thousand flights, and it suffered a loss of over $12.6 million.

UFO is demanding a 5 percent pay hike and guarantees against outsourcing of jobs. Lufthansa is firm on its offer of 3.6 percent increase, and doesn’t want to call in a mediator. The airline is on a cost-saving spree to reduce the expenses by 1.5 billion euros annually by 2014.

Nicoley Baublies said the union isn’t planning any new strike for the time being, but they are prepared for another strike if Lufthansa continues with its “tactical game playing”. However, Deutsche Lufthansa AG (ETR:LHA) (PINK:DLAKY) (FRA:LHA) termed the telephonic talk with UFO as “tentative”. The airline publicly stated on ZDF television that the two parties have not agreed to appoint any outside mediator to settle the differences.

There have been several threatened walkouts by Deutsche Lufthansa AG (ETR:LHA) (PINK:DLAKY) (FRA:LHA) staff, including airfield workers and traffic controllers over the last year. Every time, Lufthansa asked the union to come back to the negotiation table.

Last Friday, Frankfurt, Berlin, and Munich, all the three airports were relatively quiet, as over 100,000 travelers were affected by the 24-hour long strike. More than 1,500 passengers had to stay overnight on temporary beds in airport lounges. Deutsche Lufthansa AG (ETR:LHA) (PINK:DLAKY) (FRA:LHA) said it contacted its passengers through messages and re-booked many passengers on other flights.

The strike has benefited the competitors of Deutsche Lufthansa AG (ETR:LHA) (PINK:DLAKY) (FRA:LHA), such as British Airways, Air Berlin Plc (ETR:AB1) (FRA:AB1), and Austrian Airlines that are unaffected by the strike. These airlines have decided to operate bigger planes on German routes.

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