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Lufthansa and pilots union in "breakthrough" deal

Lufthansa and pilots union in "breakthrough" dealGerman flagship airline Deutsche Lufthansa AG said on Wednesday it has reached an agreement with pilots that should end a costly, long-standing dispute over pay and employment terms.

The non-binding agreement covers issues such as wages, productivity, transitional payments and pensions until at least June 2022, Lufthansa said.

Lufthansa had agreed to a wage deal with pilots in February but other issues, including pensions, were unsolved.

Lufthansa's drawn-out talks with the Vereinigung Cockpit union have led to several costly stoppages that disrupted hundreds of flights.

Lufthansa's labour relations head, Bettina Volkens, on Wednesday called the deal a "breakthrough" that would end the dispute.

The airline expects the agreed changes to pensions and early retirement benefits would have a positive effect on earnings this year.

The union said the deal would protect pilot jobs at Lufthansa and low-cost division Germanwings, while guaranteeing lower unit costs to the company. The company said it would drop plans to staff 40 planes outside the labour agreement and committed to operate a certain number of planes to offer pilots the opportunity to train for captain's positions.

The two sides said details remain to be worked out.

Lufthansa and its pilots have been embroiled in a row over employment and payment issues for years, resulting in strikes and high costs for the airline.
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