Pilots from the German union Vereinigung Cockpit (VC) have begun yet another strike at Lufthansa Cargo, scheduled for today and tomorrow, to protest expected changes in the carrier’s retirement benefits plan. However, Lufthansa Cargo said that the latest action – the sixth so far in 2014 – will create little to no disruptions in cargo flights.
The strike, the first to target just Lufthansa’s air freight division, began this morning at 3 a.m., Frankfurt time, and is scheduled to last at least until 10:30 p.m., local time, on Thursday, Oct. 9. According to a press statement, Lufthansa’s 21 scheduled cargo flights for today will depart from the carrier’s Frankfurt Airport (FRA) hub as planned, with the exception of two, which left earlier than scheduled to avoid the announced strike window.
“As Lufthansa Cargo usually flies about half of its freight in the bellies of Lufthansa and Austrian Airlines passenger aircraft, the effects for customers will be kept at an absolute minimum,” the German carrier said in a press release.
VC, which represents about 5,400 Lufthansa pilots, is trying to convince the airline to maintain its current policy of allowing pilots to retire early, at age 55, and still receive up to 60 percent of their pay before their pensions kick in.
Lufthansa Cargo has offered to keep its early-pension plan for employees who started before 2014, and has offered to continue another round of negotiations. But a spokesman said the freight carrier had “little understanding for this renewed call to a strike,” calling it “entirely out of proportion,” considering that the early retirement age at Lufthansa Cargo is already 60.