Pilots extend strike to Lufthansa long-haul flights Thursday

17th March 2015, Comments 0 comments

A German pilots' union has extended its strike to Lufthansa long-haul flights on Thursday, after already calling stoppages that are expected to ground 750 flights on Wednesday in a long-running dispute over early retirement.

The Cockpit union's decision on Tuesday comes after Lufthansa was forced to cancel more than half of its 1,400 short- and medium-haul flights in Germany and Europe scheduled for Wednesday due to the action, affecting 80,000 passengers.

The union has now called for its members to strike for a further 24 hours from midnight on Wednesday.

The strike "is going to be extended to increase the pressure on the Lufthansa management", the union said in a statement.

Long-haul and Lufthansa Cargo services will be hit on Thursday, but the Germanwings and Eurowings subsidiaries will be unaffected.

It is the 12th walkout since last April over management plans to change the pilots' transitional pension arrangements.

Currently, pilots can retire at 55 and receive up to 60 percent of their pay until they reach the statutory retirement age of 65.

Lufthansa wants to scrap the arrangement.

Speaking before the decision to extend the strike into a second day, the company's personnel chief Bettina Volkens slammed the industrial action as "completely disproportionate".

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© 2015 AFP

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