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Lufthansa, union nearing agreement on pension changes

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(Reuters) — The main cabin crew union at Lufthansa has called off a strike planned for this week after progress was made in talks with management over retirement and pension benefits.

Relations between the two sides had soured over recent months as Lufthansa sought to push through cost cuts, resulting in cabin crew staging the longest ever strike in the history of the German carrier earlier this month.

The cabin crew union, UFO, had on Monday threatened to hold further walkouts from Thursday in the long-running and bitter row.

But the union and the airline said on Wednesday that they had agreed on a basic concept for retirement and pensions benefits that could be used to reach an agreement, plus planned to enter mediation on how to achieve growth and secure jobs at its main Lufthansa brand.

Cabin crew and management will also work with two other unions representing Lufthansa pilots and ground staff to prepare a meeting on Dec. 2, at which jobs will be discussed. The cabin crew union had criticized Lufthansa for dictating the timing and agenda of the meetings.

However, the union cautioned on Wednesday that further agreements on jobs needed to be achieved by that date in order to prevent further strikes.

Lufthansa shares extended gains after the strike was called off and were up 2.1% a 0852 GMT.