Flights at German airliner Deutsche Lufthansa AG (DLAKY.PK, DLAKF.PK) may potentially be impacted from Friday as its cabin crew members prepare for a strike that may put further pressure on its business and also throw into disarray travel plans of thousands of passengers.
The strike is being called by the Unabhaengige Flugbegleiter Organisation, or UFO - the German trade union which represents nearly two-thirds of Lufthansa's 19,000 cabin crew members.
As per information on the Web site of UFO, Lufthansa will be provided a six-hour notice period on potential strike targets and the timing of the walkouts. Meanwhile, media reports, quoting an email from UFO, state that the crew members will participate in the strike in Frankfurt from 0300 GMT to 1100 GMT on Friday.
For more than a year, the Union has been haggling with Lufthansa for higher pay and better working terms. The union has been demanding a 5 percent increase in pay and an assurance that Lufthansa will not outsource jobs and employ contract workers.
Lufthansa meanwhile has been stressing on the need to curb costs as it grapples with the twin problems of increased fuel prices and competition from discount carriers.
Any hopes of an amicable resolution of the issues were blighted on Tuesday when negotiations proved futile, with Lufthansa unwilling to budge from its stand that crew members cooperate in cost cutting efforts. The UFO has warned that the dispute could prolong.
Lufthansa, which operates about 1,850 flights each day, earlier said it will cushion the impact of a possible strike by availing the services of those not represented by the union, with plans of roping in workers from other units also in the offing.
Lufthansa opines that a full-fledged strike on a robust business day may result in losses running into millions of euros.
Typical of aviation companies, Lufthansa has been impacted by escalating fuel prices, heightened rivalry, and pale economic conditions. To prop up margins, the company had announced restructuring measures that include axing 3,500 full-time jobs over the coming years. Worldwide, Lufthansa employs about 120,000 people. Lufthansa's cost-cutting plan envisages enhancing operating result by at least 1.5 billion euros by the end of 2014.
In Germany's Xetra stock exchange, shares of Lufthansa closed Thursday at 9.76 euros, up 0.54%, on a volume of 2.7 million shares.
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by RTT Staff Writer
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