German court orders halt to Lufthansa pilot strike

German court orders halt to Lufthansa pilot strike

A German court has today issued an injunction ordering a halt to a strike by pilots at Lufthansa, the country’s biggest airline.

The State Labour Court in Frankfurt issued the injunction after Lufthansa said it had cancelled 1,000 flights, according to news agency DPA.

The pilots’ union, Vereinigung Cockpit, began its strike on long-haul flights on Tuesday, forcing the cancellation of 90 flights, and extended the walkout to medium and short haul flights on Wednesday.

Lufthansa says some 140,000 travellers were affected but that about 500 of the airline’s flights would still operate.

Subsidiaries Germanwings, Swiss, Austrian Airlines or Brussels Airlines were not involved.

Lufthansa welcomed the ruling but said a special, reduced timetable it had drawn up for the day would remain in place. It said that largely normal services would resume on Thursday.

The dispute comes as Lufthansa restructures to meet increasing competition from Gulf airlines.

The pilots want the airline to keep making transition payments for those seeking early retirement.

The court found that the union’s aims went beyond that demand, to exerting more influence on Lufthansa’s new low-cost operation, making the strike illegal.

Union spokesman Markus Wahl told N-TV television after the ruling that it had told pilots to be available for work immediately.

Wednesday’s ruling overturned one by a lower court on Tuesday that went in the union’s favour.

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