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Aviation

Lufthansa cabin staff accepts pay deal

A fierce wage dispute at German carrier Lufthansa has finally come to an end as cabin crews agreed to a wage deal brokered by an arbiter. The flight attendants accepted a lower pay raise in exchange for job guarantees.

In a ballot on Tuesday, some 85 percent of the participating Lufthansa cabin staff had voted in favor of 3.95 percent higher wages for the next two years, the UfO labor union announced Tuesday.

The pay hike falls short of a 5 percent increase originally demanded by the UfO union, which represents most of the Lufthansa's 18,000 flight attendants, but includes a non-layoff guarantee for cabin staff until the end of 2014.

"We are convinced the agreement will become a cornerstone in our long-term wage policy," said UfO labor boss Nicoley Baublies.

The wage agreement was brokered by an arbiter in November and came after a series of strikes at Lufthansa in September, which inhibited air traffic across Germany.

Lufthansa said the pay hike and an additional one-time payment amounted to an overall rise of 4.6 percent and would cost the airline 33 million euros ($42 million) next year. However, management welcomed the agreement as a step toward more flexibility in work schedules.

News of the agreement came as Lufthansa reported a 1.3 percent drop in passenger numbers in November to an annual total of 7.7 million. Germany's biggest airline is currently struggling amid fierce competition from low-cost carriers and rising fuel prices.

uhe/dr (AP, Reuters, dpa)

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