August 1, 2008
Lufthansa has reached a wage agreement with staff to end a strike that has caused hundreds of flight cancellations, both sides said on Friday.
Trade union Verdi said it planned to abandon the strike from early Saturday after reaching the deal.
However, Lufthansa said on its web site it would take two weeks before it returned to operating its normal flight schedule as checks to aircraft had been backed up during the strike. Some 90 percent of European flights would run in the next four days.
Under the deal, Lufthansa ground staff will get a 5.1 percent pay rise backdated to July 1 and a further 2.3 percent rise from July 2009. They will also receive a one-off payment, the airline said.
The deal would last 21 months and cabin staff pay would rise in line with that of ground staff, Lufthansa said, adding that it had to confirm this with the Ufo union.
Ufo, representing flight attendants, said the pay offer that Verdi had agreed was far too low.
About 5,000 members of the Verdi services union started walkouts on Monday to press for an immediate 9.8 percent pay rise. Lufthansa had offered 6.7 percent over 21 months and a one-off payment.
Lufthansa has grounded planes because of a shortage of technical staff. Catering and freight workers and some check-in staff have also stopped work.
The airline said the cost of the strike had so far reached a double-digit million euros figure. On Wednesday, the group said high fuel costs and a possible weakening of demand were set to push earnings down this year.
Europe's biggest economy is experiencing a sharp rise in inflation and several unions are seeking bigger wage deals after restraint in recent years.
Lufthansa usually runs about 2,000 flights per day.