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Unions

Verdi reaches wage deal with Lufthansa after April strike

German trade union Verdi and Europe's largest airline Lufthansa have reached a wage deal after months of negotiation. The pay increase and no-layoffs pledge for two years will avert another round of crippling strikes.

About 33,000 mechanical and back-office Lufthansa staff will receive pay hikes of 3 to 4.7 percent, the Verdi union said Wednesday after three days of marathon talks near Frankfurt.

Verdi said the pay raise will occur in two steps. Employees of Lufthansa Cargo and Lufthansa Technik staff will receive a 2.4 percent rise starting August 1, 2013, and then an additional 2.3 percent will follow as of August 1, 2014.

Lufthansa AG staff were set to receive a raise of 1.5 percent on both dates and trainees will see a pay increase by 5.2 percent, the union said.

The deal, which runs for 26 months, excludes forced lay-offs. Lufthansa also confirmed that a deal had been reached.

On April 22, a one-day strike grounded 1,700 Lufthansa flights disrupting the travel plans of 150,000 passengers. Analysts estimate that walk-out cost the airline more than 15 million euros ($20 million).

Lufthansa is currently pushing through a cost-cutting plan which aims to increase annual operating profits to 2.3 billion euros by 2015 from 524 million last year. About 3,500 jobs are expected to be cut worldwide.

The deal must be approved by union members by May 14.

hc/msh (Reuters, dpa)