Lufthansa union votes to extend strike

Mar 19, 2015, 7:41 AM EDT
Passengers wait at the counter of German carrier Lufthansa on March 18, 2015 Leipzig/Halle in Schkeuditz , Germany.
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Lufthansa pilots plan a third day of striking on Friday, following two days of planned action on Wednesday and Thursday, potentially disrupting thousands of passengers, reports the BBC.

The Friday strike will affect short- and medium-haul flights, similar to Wednesday's action. Pilots staged a walk-out for long-haul flights on Thursday.

The pilots' union is hoping strikes will put pressure on management during negotiations on retirement benefits.

Lufthansa spokesman Martin Riecken said the company would be able to fly three-quarters of flights on Friday across all carriers under the Lufthansa group, including Swiss International and Austrian Airlines. He said the company would like to resume negotiations with the union.

Lufthansa wanted to get rid of a programme that allows pilots to retire at age 55 and receive up to 60% of their pay until they reach the statutory retirement age of 65.

Ricecken says a new deal has been tabled by the airline offering to continue the benefit for existing pilots, but with a higher average retirement age of 61 and closing the scheme to new pilots

. The airline has been plagued by strikes, which last year cost it €232m (£165m).