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German manufacturing falls as pilots hit cargo

FRANKFURT: The German pilot's union Vereinigung Cockpit called a strike on Lufthansa Cargo (LCG) from 0100 (GMT) October 08 to 2030 (GMT) October 09 as part of its ongoing dispute with Lufthansa AG over retirement benefits.

In a statement, LCG said the airline planned to operate all of its flights with two services departing earlier than scheduled. For services to Asia from Frankfurt, the company flies MD-11F and B777F aircraft via Krasnoyarsk (right) several times a week.

lufthansa cargo krasnoyarskThe company added that as it usually flies "about half of its freight" on Lufthansa and Austrian Airlines' passenger aircraft, "the effects for customers will be kept at an absolute minimum".

Meanwhile Lufthansa Group subsidiary Austrian Airlines said it has reached a last-minute labor agreement with its pilots and cabin staff that will mean a transfer from its Tyrolean Airways subsdiary back to the parent and a single brand operation from March 01, 2015: "I am relieved. The agreement is the best of all the options open to Austrian Airlines. We managed just in time to prevent the possible reorganization of the airline", said CEO Jaan Albrecht. "The negotiating partners demonstrated a sense of responsibility. I pay tribute to them," he added.

Also this week the German train drivers union GDL called a nine-hour nationwide strike on October 08 after failing to reach an agreement with  Deutsche Bahn for a five percent pay rise and a 37-hour working week.

The latest Lufthansa pilot walkout coincides with German manufacturing data that suggests the country's goods-producing sector has ended 14 months of continuous growth.

According to the newest Markit/BME survey, the German purchasing managers' index (PMI) dropped from 51.4 in August to below the neutral 50.0 threshold in September.

Markit says manufacturers' stock purchasing fell faster than at any time since the beginning of 2014 while suppliers' delivery times continued to lengthen for the fourth successive month.

Commenting on the results Oliver Kolodseike, Markit economist and report author said: "September's manufacturing PMI results paint a worrying picture of the health of Germany's goods- producing sector. The headline PMI fell to its lowest level in 15 months, heavily weighed down by the sharpest drop in new orders since the end of 2012. Surveyed companies reported that a weakening economic environment, Russian sanctions and subdued growth in key export destinations were reasons behind the disappointing reading.

"Moreover, deflationary pressures persisted into September, with both input and output prices falling since the previous month. This was the first time since March that both price indices registered below the neutral 50.0 mark," he added.

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