Around 100-thousand passengers are expected to be affected as Lufthansa pilots stike for two days in Germany. They want more pay, but as Kate King reports airline management are refusing to budge amid increasing competition in the sector.
900 canceled flights and counting.. as Lufthansa pilots in Germany begin a two-day strike. The walk-out aiming to put pressure on management after pay talks broke down earlier this month - But passengers are also feeling the pinch. (SOUNDBITE) (German) BOARD MEMBER VEREINIGUNG COCKPIT (VC) PILOTS' UNION, JOERG HANDWERG, SAYING: "We have not received a pay increase for more than five years and we called on Lufthansa to make us an offer. So far, we only have a sham offer on the table. For everything they offer we are supposed to cut something elsewhere in the labour agreement. We are not happy with that and we demand a negotiable offer." The pilots' union is calling for a 3.7% pay rise for 5,400 pilots dating back to 2012. Despite a record profit in 2015, Lufthansa management has refused to budge from its offer of a 2.5 percent increase over six years. It says it needs to cut costs in order to compete in the fierce air line market. (SOUNDBITE) (German) LUFTHANSA SPOKESMAN, MARTIN LEUTKE, SAYING: "We offered an overall solution which was turned down. We then negotiated about a labour agreement and that pay increase too was turned down. We then said our positions are too far apart and that we would go into arbitration. That too was turned down." This is now the 14th strike since the dispute began in early April. And the bill is starting to add up. Lufthansa says it expects the latest strike will cost as much as 9.6 million euros a day - and will affect around 100 thousand passengers.