Strikes Threatens Air and Rail Cargo

Reuters reports that the  German pilots union Vereinigung Cockpit (VC) called for a strike on Monday  again at Deutsche Lufthansa in a dispute over retirement benefits, targeting the airline’s Cargo unit. The strike- over planned changes to retirement benefits-  is the sixth stoppage by Lufthansa pilots this year and the first to target the carrier’s all-cargo unit. The walkout is planned to  last from Oct. 8, 0100 GMT, until Oct. 9, 2030 GMT

The VC pilots’ union, which represents 5,400 Lufthansa pilots, is protesting the carrier’s plan to end a provision  that allows pilots to retire at 55 and receive up to 60 percent of their salary until regular pension payments begin. The strike follows a two-week stoppage by pilots at Air France-KLM which ended on Sep. 28.

The carrier promised that “the effects for customers will be kept at an absolute minimum” as it usually flies about half of its freight in the bellies of Lufthansa and Austrian Airlines passenger aircraft. In addition, two flights will depart earlier than scheduled, allowing them to bypass the strike.

Other recent strikes carried out by the union have disrupted passenger flights, with the last, on 30 September, affecting 20,000 travellers.

German rail freight, including container traffic to and from ports, will also come to a standstill through the night as locomotive drivers stage a nine-hour stoppage. The action is aimed at drivers gaining a 5 percent wage increase and a two-hour reduction in the working week to 37 hours

Please be guided accordingly, we will provide further updates as they become available.