Germany's Lufthansa in new pay offer to end pilots' strike

BERLIN – German airline Lufthansa said Wednesday it has made a modified pay offer to pilots as it seeks to put an end to a long-running dispute that’s seen a succession of strikes over recent days.

Lufthansa said it is now offering a wage increase totalling 4.4 per cent this year and next plus an unspecified one-time payment. It said the offer “is not linked to any other terms or conditions” and called for arbitration proceedings.

The new offer is an improvement on one Lufthansa made last Friday. Then, it offered to increase pilots’ pay by 4.4 per cent by mid-2018, and make a one-time payment equal to 1.8 monthly salaries in lieu of past raises. That offer was presented as part of an “overall solution” that addressed many other issues, and was rejected by the Cockpit union.

Cockpit is seeking retroactive raises of 3.66 per cent a year going back 5 1/2 years.

On Wednesday, Lufthansa cancelled 890 flights on the second day of Cockpit’s latest walkout — which followed four consecutive days of strikes last week.

Lufthansa said some 98,000 passengers on short- and long-haul flights were affected.

Lufthansa said that over six strike days since last Wednesday it has had to cancel 4,461 flights, affecting a total of 525,000 passengers. It said flights on Thursday should almost be running as scheduled, but that it would have to cancel 40. It urged passengers to check with the airline before heading to the airport.

So far the current round of strikes has not affected Lufthansa subsidiaries such as Eurowings, Germanwings, Austrian Air and Swiss.

Cockpit has been staging strikes sporadically since April 2014.