Lufthansa, Cabin Crew Fail To Reach Pension Deal

October 19, 2015

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The latest round of talks between Lufthansa and its cabin crew workers has failed, with union UFO rejecting the airline's latest offers as "missing the point".

The German carrier is currently negotiating with staff from various parts of its business as it tries to cut costs to compete more effectively with low cost carriers and Gulf rivals.

It has said in talks with the UFO union, which represents around 19,000 flight attendants, that low interest rates meant it could no longer afford the retirement scheme it has been offering to cabin crew, which cost it EUR€3.7 billion (USD$4.19 billion) last year and allowed workers to retire at the age of 55.

Lufthansa said under the offer it presented on Monday, cabin crew would still be allowed to stop working when they reach 55 but said they could receive significantly higher pensions if they stayed on until the age of 65.

In addition, all cabin crew would receive a one-time payment of EUR€2,000 each, and those who had been with the company since at least 2012 would also get wage increases of 1.7 percent in 2016 and again in 2017, it said.

Nicoley Baublies, head of UFO, said Lufthansa's offer did not include important points on job security that the union had demanded and showed that negotiations had "failed completely".

"We will not continue negotiations. Another extension is not going to help," he said in a video response posted online. He said UFO still needed to examine Lufthansa's offer in detail before deciding how to proceed.

Talks with UFO nearly resulted in strikes this summer, but the two sides agreed to continue talking, with the aim of reaching an agreement by November.

Lufthansa is also negotiating with pilots, who have staged more than a dozen strikes over the last 18 months, the most recent in September before a court called an end to the walkout.

(Reuters)