November 28, 2016 / 3:53 PM / 3 years ago

German court rejects Lufthansa bid to prevent pilots' strike

FRANKFURT/BERLIN (Reuters) - A Munich court has rejected a request by Lufthansa (LHAG.DE) to issue a temporary injunction to prevent the latest strike planned by the German airline’s pilots in a long-running dispute over pay.

Lufthansa had sought the injunction after it was forced to cancel 2,800 flights because of last week’s four-day strike and said on Monday that another strike planned for the next two days would result in a further 1,700 cancellations.

“The Munich labour court has dismissed the application because the planned strike measures are not evidently illegal,” the court said in a statement.

Lufthansa had argued that demands by pilots for higher pay increases for staff with at least 12 years of service infringe a German law on equal treatment, the court said, adding that the airline has appealed against the decision not to halt the strikes.

But the carrier’s lawyers abandoned the complaint at a court hearing on Monday evening, paving the way for another wave of strikes.

“With this you are allowed to go on strike from midnight,” Munich labour court judge Camilla Roesch told representatives of the Vereinigung Cockpit (VC) union.

Lufthansa has offered to increase the pilots’ pay by 4.4 percent in two instalments and to make a one-off payment worth 1.8 months’ pay over a six-year period.

The VC union is demanding an average annual pay rise of 3.7 percent for 5,400 pilots over a five-year period backdated to 2012. VC rejected the latest pay offer from Lufthansa late on Friday.

Reporting by Peter Maushagen; Additional reporting by Jens Hack in Munich and Andreas Cremer in Berlin; Writing by Maria Sheahan; Editing by David Goodman and Jonathan Oatis

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