The union representing the majority of Lufthansa’s pilots has broken off talks with the airline after failing to reach an agreement in a long-standing labor dispute.

As a result, the union has once again threatened work stoppages that could come at anytime but they did indicate that there will be no strikes during the Christmas Holiday.

The talks have broken off even after Lufthansa offered pilots a 5% pay raise.   However the major sticking point revolves around early retirement.   The union wants LH to let pilots retire as early as age 55 with a majority of their benefits intact while Lufthansa’s position has remained that the minimum retirement age should be somewhere ‘north’ of 55 for a pilot to earn full retirement benefits.

With these new threats, strikes can be called with as little as 24-48 hours notice and can include pilots from Cargo, Lufthansa and Germanwings.   Fortunately (or unfortunately), Lufthansa has become quite adept at handling these strikes and has been proactive in assisting passengers during work stoppages.

I’m sure we’ll hear more in the next few days.