Pilots at Germany’s Lufthansa to hold strike ballot in long-running dispute over pay

BERLIN – A German union says pilots at the country’s biggest airline, Lufthansa, will vote on whether to go on strike in a long-running pay dispute.

The Vereinigung Cockpit union said Tuesday that it will announce the results of the ballot of about 5,400 pilots at Lufthansa, Lufthansa Cargo and the company’s budget airline Germanwings on March 21. It said the several-week interval gives the company time to “correct its course and avoid strikes.”

Among other issues that the two sides have argued over, the union says that two years of pay negotiations have failed because Lufthansa failed to make a “negotiable offer.”

Lufthansa has been trying to cut costs amid tough competition from European budget carriers and from aggressively expanding government-owned Gulf airlines.