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Lufthansa Pilots’ Union Warns Of Strike After Negotiations Fail

German airline Lufthansa aircrafts are parked during a pilots' strike at Munich's airport on September 10, 2014. REUTERS/Michaela Rehle

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Ted Goodman Reporter

A union representing pilots at Lufthansa AG announced it is considering new strikes after talks with Germany’s largest airline failed.

“Expect industrial action at Lufthansa and Lufthansa Cargo,” the group said in a translated statement; it will give 24 hours’ notice of any strike.

The “Cockpit” union announced its potential plans to strike Monday after the pilots and the airline halted talks over wages, which is just one of numerous labor disputes facing the company. The union is calling for wage increases for its 5,4000 pilots employed by both Lufthansa and Germanwings, its budget subsidiary.

A strike could affect both passenger and cargo flights, the union said. If pilots walk off the job, it would be the fourteenth strike since April of 2014. Lufthansa employees launched the largest strike in company history last November, which resulted in the cancellation of 4,700 flights and 550,000 individual passenger trips.

The pilots contend that while Lufthansa is earning billions of euros, its pilots have been without a pay increase for five years.

On its Twitter page, Lufthansa called the announcement “incomprehensible,” noting negotiations alone could solve the dispute. Lufthansa is undergoing a major restructuring as it works to keep up with low-cost alternatives and global competition.

The flagship carrier of Germany has been hit hard by competition and a series of strikes that disrupted service and brought on bad publicity. Adding to all of its woes, the airline had to deal with a fatal 2015 crash, where a Lufthansa pilot intentionally crashed a Germanwings plane into the side of a mountain.

In order to stay competitive, Lufthansa rolled out a series of measures including a plan to buy used planes over brand new ones. The airline is ratcheting up its fight against competition after discount carrier RyanAir announced new routes into Frankfurt, Germany; Lufthansa’s home base.

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