Lufthansa pilots to stage 3-day strike next week

BERLIN (AP) — A union representing pilots at Germany's Lufthansa airline called Friday for a three-day strike next week in a long-running pay dispute, but said it is ruling out any further work stoppages until the end of Easter vacation.

The Vereinigung Cockpit union said it is calling on pilots at Germany's largest airline to go on strike next Wednesday, Thursday and Friday, April 2-4. Lufthansa already had to cancel hundreds of flights on Thursday when public-sector workers went on strike at seven German airports in a dispute that had nothing to do with the airline.

Following Vereinigung Cockpit's announcement, the airline said it was eager to avoid any more disruptions and called on the union to resume joint talks as soon as possible. "With the goodwill of everyone involved, we should be able to avoid a strike," said Lufthansa human resources chief Bettina Volkens.

Last week, the union said pilots at Lufthansa, Lufthansa Cargo and the company's budget airline Germanwings had voted by a huge majority for strike action. Among other issues in the dispute, the union says Lufthansa has failed to make a "negotiable offer" during two years of pay negotiations.

Lufthansa has been trying to cut costs amid tough competition from European budget carriers and aggressively expanding government-owned Gulf airlines.

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