German pilots to strike at Lufthansa on Monday and Tuesday

A pilot of German airline Lufthansa sporting a button which reads ''strike'' on his uniform as he takes part in a demonstration at Fraport airport in Frankfurt April 2, 2014.

FRANKFURT - German pilots' union VC called a strike at Deutsche Lufthansa for Oct. 20 and 21, targeting the airline's Airbus 320 planes as well as Boeing 737s.

The union said on Sunday the walkout would last from 1100 GMT on Monday until 2159 GMT on Tuesday.

The pilots are in dispute with Lufthansa's management over retirement benefits.

The union said the strike would affect all short- and mid-distance Lufthansa flights from Germany.

Lufthansa's low-cost unit Germanwings will not be hit.

The pilots' move follows a strike by train drivers in support of pay and negotiation rights, which halted two thirds of long-distance trains in Germany, leaving millions of passengers stranded on Saturday and Sunday.

VC, representing about 5,400 Lufthansa pilots, wants the airline to maintain a scheme that allows pilots to retire early at the age of 55 and still receive up to 60 per cent of their pay before regular pension payments start.

Management, under pressure to reduce costs to better compete with budget rivals and fast-growing airlines from the Middle East, has offered to keep the pension scheme for employees who started before this year but wants to increase the earliest possible retirement age for new recruits.

The union, however, has rejected this and has offered to help cover the costs of the scheme.

Lufthansa was not immediately available for comment.