Lufthansa pilots strike, with more walkouts threatened

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Lufthansa pilots went on strike Tuesday for the 13th time in a current dispute over pay, with Wednesday’s planned walkout set to be even more crippling and the union threatening further industrial action.

Tuesday’s strike hit less than half of the German airline’s long-haul flights, but the company said almost two thirds of short- and medium-haul flights will be affected on Wednesday.

A last-ditch effort to avert Wednesday’s work stoppage by seeking a court injunction was batted aside Tuesday night when a Frankfurt labour court ruled the pilots may go ahead with their strike.

A spokesman for union Vereinigung Cockpit said the walkout would probably not be the last.

“Until further notice, it is possible that every week there will be new action,” Markus Wahl told reporters at Frankfurt airport.

Lufthansa said in a statement that it regretted any inconvenience caused and was doing its best to keep Tuesday’s disruption to a minimum.

“Despite the labour action, Lufthansa is able to offer 90 of the scheduled long-haul flights to its passengers and all cargo flights,” it said.

Wednesday looks set to be more testing with around 1,000 in a total of 1,520 short- and medium-haul flights due to be disrupted, meaning 140,000 out of 180,000 passengers may not be able to fly.

Lufthansa has issued a special flight schedule. However, passengers have to search for individual flights on its website to see if their journey is hit.

Europe’s largest carrier made clear that Wednesday’s strike would not affect subsidiaries Germanwings, Air Dolomiti, Swiss and Austrian Airlines.

Lufthansa also announced Tuesday it is suing the union for 60 million euros (67 million dollars) in damages because the first strike in April 2014 was not legal in the company’s view.

The 17-month dispute focuses on pensions and the salary implications of corporate restructuring.

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