German carrier Lufthansa said Tuesday that it planned to improve its pay offer to pilots in an effort to avert a two-day strike this week that could cause significant disruption to travellers.
A union representing pilots announced plans for a walkout Wednesday and Thursday, while calling on the company to makes a “serious” offer in talks over pay increases. It would be the second strike in a week after pilots staged a walkout Friday that led to hundreds of flights being canceled.
Lufthansa said it would have to decide by noon which flights to cancel in the coming days and a strike would have “massive consequences” for its flight plan.
In a statement Tuesday, Lufthansa’s personnel chief Michael Niggemann accused the union of seeking to escalate the labour dispute.
“We will nevertheless do everything to achieve success with an improved offer despite the time pressure,” he said.
The Vereinigung Cockpit union has called for a 5.5% raise for its members this year and an inflation-busting 8.2% increase in 2023. Pilots are also seeking a new pay and holiday structure.
The airline says those measures would increase its staffing costs by about 40%, or around 900 million euros over two years. It has instead offered a one-off increase of 900 euros (US$900), amounting to a 5% increase for senior pilots and an 18% increase for those starting the profession.
Strong unions have traditionally ensured good conditions for workers in Germany, using strikes to press their demands in labour disputes.