German court deems Lufthansa pilot strike not legal

German court deems Lufthansa pilot strike not legal

Lufthansa pilots have been ordered by a German court to end a strike that led to the cancellation of around 1,000 flights.

The airline expects to offer flight schedules that are “virtually back to normal” from today following two consecutive days of industrial action.

The Vereinigung Cockpit (VC) union said that the court ruling means all striking pilots must return to work immediately.

The union started a series of 13 strikes around 18 months ago, initially in protest against changes to early retirement benefits but subsequently due to concerns over low-cost expansion at Lufthansa.

The regional labour court in the federal state of Hesse, which overruled a decision made by a lower court on Tuesday evening to allow Wednesday's strike, said the pilots were not only striking over pay and retirement benefits but over Lufthansa's plans for low-cost expansion.

Since this was not part of the union's mandate in pay talks, the strike was not legal.

VC spokesman Markus Wahl said that the union was surprised by the ruling. However, it may not mean the end of strikes.

"We will review the decision and then draw the consequences for our continuing labour battle," he told Reuters.

Lufthansa welcomed the decision and said it was ready to resume pay talks with VC at any time, but the carrier also said that it was considering whether to expand a claim for damages.

The airline said it remains willing to resume negotiations on all open collective labour agreement items with VC at any time.

“Our goal is still to work with the VC to find a joint solution to all the open collective labour agreement issues through the negotiating process,” said the airline’s head of human resources, Bettina Volkens.


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