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UPDATE 1-Pilots' union new pay talks proposal welcomed by Lufthansa

(Adds details, Lufthansa comment)

BERLIN Oct 4 A German pilots' union called on Tuesday for formal talks with Lufthansa to end a long-running pay dispute that has resulted in strikes at one of Europe's largest airlines.

The Vereinigung Cockpit (VC) union spokesman said it had written to Lufthansa to seek talks on pay for 5,400 pilots at Lufthansa, Lufthansa Cargo and budget subsidiary Germanwings, adding that dates should be set for the coming weeks.

Lufthansa, which welcomed the proposal, has been in talks with the pilots union for four years. Informal talks ended last month after the collapse of formal negotiations in August.

"Negotiations are the only way to solve wage disputes," a spokeswoman said.

Union leaders held meetings with members last month at which pilots expressed discontent that the talks had failed, especially as the two sides were closer than ever, according to one participant.

Lufthansa is trying to cut costs at its main brand in Germany in order to better compete with low-cost rivals in Europe and fast-growing long-haul carriers such as Emirates and Turkish Airlines. (Reporting by Emma Thomasson; Editing by Caroline Copley and Alexander Smith)

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