Pilots at Germany's Lufthansa in its longest ever strike

Lufthansa's pilots voted for the strike on concerns that the company could try to cut staff costs by shifting jobs to foreign subsidiaries.

Pilots at Germany's Lufthansa in its longest ever strike

Fearing potential staff cuts, Lufthansa's high-paid German pilots took to the picket lines on Monday, plunging the airline into its longest ever strike and forcing the carrier to cancel hundreds of flights.

Passengers left stranded by the strike that started at midnight local time are being rebooked on other airlines or have to take trains for domestic travel, after last-ditch attempts to reach a compromise failed over the weekend.

Lufthansa expects the strike will cost it about 100 million euros ($135 million) in cash, in addition to lost ticket sales and possible damage to its reputation now that it will ground about 800 flights per day over a four-day period.

European travellers could face additional headaches, as Monday is also the final day of a cabin crew strike ballot at rival British Airways that could cast travel in Europe's second-biggest economy into turmoil as well.

Some 4,000 German pilots voted for the strike at Lufthansa on concerns the company could try to cut staff costs by shifting jobs to foreign subsidiaries such as Austrian Airlines or Lufthansa Italia, where wages are lower.

Germany's economic recovery stalled at the end of 2009, and workers are becoming increasingly concerned that they could lose their jobs. They are looking to employers to promise job security in exchange for concessions on pay, as carmaker Volkswagen has.

Rival airlines, rail operators and rental car companies, meanwhile, stand to benefit from the strike as Lufthansa passengers switch to alternative modes of transportation.

Agencies

Last Mod: 22 Şubat 2010, 15:03
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