Lufthansa pilots to strike for 3 days

FRANKFURT - Pilots for the German air carrier Lufthansa said on Friday that they would go on strike for three days next week for higher pay and better benefits.

The strike, to start at midnight Wednesday (2200 GMT Tuesday) and end at 11.59pm Friday, will take place despite several efforts at negotiation, the pilots union Cockpit said. The meetings failed to lead to any narrowing of differences between the airline and union, it said.

An overwhelming 97% of Lufthansa pilots voted a week ago to go on strike. A key trigger for the decision by the group's 5,400 pilots was a demand to revive a deal that allowed them to retire at 55 with up to 60% of their last pay. Currently, the average pilot's retirement age is 59.

Affected by the strike will be Lufthansa, Lufthansa Cargo and the budget airline Germanwings. Lufthansa's subsidiaries Swiss and Austrian airlines, which have separate labour contracts, will not be affected.

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