* Lufthansa says has dropped demand for some concessions
* Some 890 flights cancelled by strike on Wednesday
* Corporate customer Siemens calls for talks to resume
* Lufthansa shares down 2.5 percent
(Recasts with new wage offer)
BERLIN, Nov 30 Lufthansa said it had
made its German pilots a new wage offer to try to end strikes
that are causing hundreds of flight cancellations and costing
millions of euros a day.
The airline said on Wednesday it had dropped demands that
would see pilots working more hours in exchange for a wage
increase. It is still offering to raise pilots' pay by 4.4
percent in two instalments in 2016 and 2017 and make a one-off
payment worth 1.8 months' pay.
Union Vereinigung Cockpit has called for an average annual
pay rise of 3.7 percent for 5,400 pilots over a five-year period
backdated to 2012 and had criticised management for seeking
additional concessions in exchange for more money.
"We want to get back to the negotiating table as quickly as
possible," Lufthansa board member Bettina Volkens said in a
statement, adding she hoped the two sides could then discuss
other issues such as pensions.
A VC spokesman said the union could not immediately comment
on the fresh proposal.
German businesses and some other Lufthansa staff have called
for an end to the protests, which are costing the airline 10 to
15 million euros a day.
The strike by pilots on Wednesday grounded almost 900
Lufthansa flights and is the sixth day of strikes since last
week. Lufthansa has cancelled about 4,500 flights since the
walkouts started last week, the latest in a series of protests
that date back to early 2014.
Lufthansa says it has to cut costs to compete with leaner
rivals such as Ryanair on short-haul routes and Emirates
on longer flights.
One of Lufthansa's major corporate customers, Siemens
, said the strikes were harming the Germany economy
and the country's image and warned Lufthansa that it needed to
become more reliable.
"As a major customer we have to consider how we can deal
with this on a long-term basis," Siemens CEO Joe Kaeser told
German daily Bild, adding that the pilots should resume talks.
Analysts have said the walkouts are a good opportunity for
rivals such as Ryanair and easyJet to gain
market share and could mean Lufthansa misses its 2016 profit
target. Its shares dropped 2.5 percent on Wednesday, also hit by
a rising oil price.
The pilots' union Vereinigung Cockpit (VC) held a rally at
Frankfurt airport on Wednesday morning, but also faced a
counter-demonstration from Lufthansa ground crew, who feel the
pilots are hurting the company and jeopardising jobs.
($1 = 0.9393 euros)
(Reporting by Victoria Bryan; Additional reporting by Peter
Maushagen; editing by David Clarke and Keith Weir)