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Aviation

Wage deal ends Lufthansa cabin crew strike

Labor unions at German airline Lufthansa have agreed to a cabin staff wage deal envisaging higher pay in exchange for more flexible work schedules. The deal was brokered by an arbiter after a massive strike this summer.

The chief arbiter in the labor dispute, Bert Rürup, announced on Tuesday that some 19,000 flight attendants were due to receive 4.6 percent higher wages next year, as well as a one-off payment of 320 euros ($405).

The deal, brokered by the arbiter over the past two months, also includes a job guarantee for the airline's cabin staff until 2014 and a pledge by management not to resort to the use of temporary workers within the next four years.

In exchange, the labor leaders of the Independent Flight Attendants' Union (UFO) agreed to more flexible working hours, enabling management to reduce shifts and wages by up to five percent in times of weaker demand for Lufthansa services.

Rürup said that both parties signed the agreement, but noted that it was still up for a vote by Lufthansa cabin crews to either condone or reject the proposal.

In August and September this year, a massive walkout by Lufthansa cabin crews kept more than 1,000 planes grounded, causing major disruptions of air traffic at German airports. The strike was prompted by Lufthansa's refusal to agree to five percent wage demand from labor unions.

In addition, cabin crews feared job losses in the wake of an outsourcing drive aimed at reducing staff costs at the struggling airline. Lufthansa has been running up major losses in recent months, feeling the pinch of rising fuel prices while facing fierce competition from low-cost budget airlines.

uhe/rc (dpa, dapd, AFP)