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Lufthansa strike to disrupt flights

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Lufthansa cabin crew in strike, Friday August 31, 2012.

LUFTHANSA STRIKE. Lufthansa passengers face widespread flight disruption from Friday after cabin crew representatives said they would start a series of strikes over pay and cost-cutting measures at Germany’s largest airline. The UFO union, which represents around two-thirds of Lufthansa’s 19,000 cabin crew, late on Thursday called on its members to strike from 0300 GMT to 1100 GMT on Friday in Frankfurt, the Reuters news agency reported.

“UFO calls on its members within Lufthansa to participate in the strike in Frankfurt from 0500 to 1300 hours (local),” UFO said in an emailed statement.

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Lufthansa plans to cancel 64 flights, or 25 percent of the flights during the duration of the strike, a spokesman said.

Lufthansa’s website warned passengers that delays and cancellations were possible on Friday, but said every effort would be made to keep long-haul flights on schedule. The airline added that Lufthansa Regional and German Wings would not be affected.

“Lufthansa regrets that the passengers are having to shoulder the burden of this dispute,” the airline said on its website. “The fact that UFO only announced the strike plans shortly before they started is an additional burden for passengers because they cannot plan as well.”

Jan Bärwalde, a spokesman for Lufthansa, told journalists early Friday morning that 64 flights would be canceled during the eight-hour strike. He said that’s about 25 percent of flights in that time period, Deutsche Welle reported. UFO had said prior to the announcement with the details of the strike that it would deliberately wait until just before the start of the strike to make the announcement.

“If Lufthansa were to know concrete details more in advance, they would make additional efforts to shift staff and aircraft to other airports,” UFO labor union boss Nicoley Baublies told the news agency DPA.

On Tuesday, UFO called for the walk-out after overnight negotiations with management about wages and staff policy for the 19,000 flight cabin crew it represents had failed. The union was seeking a five percent pay increase for cabin staff, as well as assurances from Lufthansa to stop the use of lower-paid temporary workers in cabin crews, according to DW.

The editor of the Traveling Reporter works as a business news editor, and is a frequent traveler. When not doing any of that, he spends time on his boat and tries to figure out where to travel next. Two of his top destinations are the Philippines and San Francisco. Email Erik! Follow the Traveling Reporter at Stumbleupon, Tumblr, Chime In, Pinterest, Google+, Weibo, Storify, Facebook, Traveldudes, Myspace.