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[HAMBURG] Lufthansa said it will offer pilots mediation on a wide range of outstanding pay issues, extending an olive branch to their union in a long-running dispute over pay and low-cost expansion that has resulted in dozens of strikes. "We are reaching out," Chief Executive Carsten Spohr said in a speech to shareholders at the company's annual general meeting on Wednesday, which commenced with a minute of silence for the victims of the Germanwings plane crash at the end of March.
Pilots' union Vereinigung Cockpit has held 15 strikes since last April, costing the company over 200 million euros (S$290.5 million) in lost operating profit in 2014.
Lufthansa had in December refused to enter into mediation on all outstanding issues, as requested by the pilots, saying it wanted mediation only on early retirement benefits and that its plans for low-cost expansion were not up for discussion.
However, the new offer also does not include mediation on its low-cost expansion, but only all outstanding wage issues. Lufthansa suggested talks this week on selecting a mediator.
The union said it needed to wait to see the full offer before commenting in detail.
Mr Spohr also confirmed a target for Lufthansa to report adjusted earnings before interest and tax of over 1.5 billion euros this year. "It has not gotten any easier after the first quarter," he added.
Lufthansa shares were down around 0.5 per cent, but recovered to trade up 0.2 per cent, in line with the wider DAX after the outlook was confirmed.
The CEO, wearing a black suit and black tie, said the company was still horrified by the Germanwings crash on March 24, deliberately caused by pilot Andreas Lubitz. "The crash has changed us and the scars it has left on our company will remain forever," Mr Spohr said.