February 2, 2015 / 2:41 PM / 3 years ago

Verdi seeks 5.5 pct pay increase for Lufthansa staff

BERLIN, Feb 2 (Reuters) - Union Verdi is calling for a 5.5 percent pay rise for the 50,000 workers it represents at the various divisions of German airline Lufthansa, it said on Monday.

Lufthansa employs around 118,000 people in total, and is in negotiations with various groups of staff as it tries to cut costs to compete with low-cost carriers Ryanair and easyJet as well as Gulf carriers such as Emirates.

A row with pilots represented by union Vereinigung Cockpit over retirement benefits and low-cost expansion remains unresolved. The carrier also last month agreed to mediation in a labour dispute with cabin crew represented by union UFO.

Verdi represents ground staff and cabin crew, plus employees at other parts of the business such as maintenance arm Lufthansa Technik. It said Lufthansa employees had played their part in restructuring efforts.

“Now it’s time to give them something back,” Verdi board member Christine Behle said in a statement.

It also rejected a request by Lufthansa to discuss retirement benefits as part of this year’s pay talks.

Lufthansa described the call for a 5.5 percent pay increase as excessive, saying: “It does not reflect the tough competitive situation of the Lufthansa group and its business units.”

Verdi said the increase was comparable to pay demands in other sectors such as the metalworking and electronics industries. (Reporting by Victoria Bryan. Editing by Jane Merriman)

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