Lufthansa’s Pilots Ordered To End Strike, Wednesday Flights Remain Canceled

The Lufthansa pilot strike that led to the cancellation of more than 1,000 flights on Tuesday and Wednesday has ended after a German court ordered the pilots to return to work.

Reuters U.K. reports that the increasingly bitter dispute between pilots and the airline over cost cuts and pay appears to be on hold, but flights already affected by the strike will remain canceled.

While the court’s order means all striking pilots must immediately return to work, Lufthansa says it’s too late to revise the flight schedule for Wednesday. Although, the airline says it will attempt to return Thursday’s affected flights to their normal schedule.

The regional labour court in the federal state of Hesse overruled a lower court’s Tuesday decision to extend the strike, saying that 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 court said the strike was not considered legal.

The pilots union, Vereinigung Cockpit (VC), started a series of 13 strikes about 18 months ago, Reuters U.K. reports, with the aim to prevent changes to early retirement benefits. However, recently the pilots have expressed their desire to prevent the airline from undergoing a low-cost expansion.

A spokesperson for the union says they were surprised by the court’s ruling on Wednesday.

“We will review the decision and then draw the consequences for our continuing labour battle,” he said.

Lufthansa says it welcomes the decision and officials are ready to resume pay talks with the union.

VC kicked off its most recent strike starting with long-haul flights on Tuesday, which forced Lufthansa to cancel 90 planned trips.

The strike is extending to include medium- and short-haul flights on Wednesday, with Lufthansa announcing it would ground about 1,000 flights, affecting 140,000 passengers.

“Lufthansa deeply regrets the resulting inconvenience to its customers and will do its best to keep possible disruptions to a minimum,” the airline said at the time, urging customers to check its website for updates on the travel situation.

Customers who have flights canceled due to the strike can rebook or cancel their reservation without penalties.

Lufthansa pilots ordered to end strike by court [Reuters U.K.]

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