Lufthansa cancels 50 flights ahead of strike

Agence France-Presse

Posted at Sep 06 2012 06:13 PM | Updated as of Sep 07 2012 07:04 PM

FRANKFURT - German airline Lufthansa cancelled around 50 flights Thursday ahead of a planned 24-hour walkout by cabin crew at six major airports on Friday.

Domestic and European services were primarily affected, but a number of intercontinental flights were also cancelled, such as New York-Frankfurt and Hong Kong-Munich, according to the carrier's website.

Late Wednesday, the cabin staff's labour union, Independent Flight Attendants' Organisation or UFO, said its members will stage a 24-hour stoppage Friday at the airports of Frankfurt, Berlin, Hamburg, Munich, Duesseldorf and Stuttgart in escalating industrial action over pay and conditions.

Other much shorter walkouts of eight hours last week and earlier this week have grounded hundreds of flights and hit thousands of passengers.

Lufthansa has therefore said it will cancel two-thirds of its total 1,800 flights on Friday.

According to its latest demands, the union is seeking a five-percent pay increase backdated to April after three years of wage freezes. It also opposes the use of temporary cabin crew on Lufthansa flights.

"We're prepared to go to mediation on the issue of pay hikes. But negotiations cannot include the use of temporary staff," a Lufthansa spokesman told AFP.

"UFO has not contacted us so far," he added.

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