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German court rejects bid by Lufthansa to force its pilots' union to call off strike

  • A Lufthansa airplane arrives at the airport in Munich, southern Germany, Monday Oct. 20, 2014.  A planned strike by pilots at Lufthansa has been expanded to include a one-day walkout Tuesday at the German airline's long-haul fleet. The Vereinigung Cockpit union already had announced a 35-hour strike at Lufthansa's short-haul fleet starting mid-Monday, the latest in a string of walkouts over retirement benefits. It expanded that to target long-haul services from 6 a.m. (0400 GMT) to midnight (2200 GMT) Tuesday. (AP Photo/Matthias Schrader)

    A Lufthansa airplane arrives at the airport in Munich, southern Germany, Monday Oct. 20, 2014. A planned strike by pilots at Lufthansa has been expanded to include a one-day walkout Tuesday at the German airline's long-haul fleet. The Vereinigung Cockpit union already had announced a 35-hour strike at Lufthansa's short-haul fleet starting mid-Monday, the latest in a string of walkouts over retirement benefits. It expanded that to target long-haul services from 6 a.m. (0400 GMT) to midnight (2200 GMT) Tuesday. (AP Photo/Matthias Schrader)  (The Associated Press)

  • Cancelled Lufthansa flights are displayed at the airport in Munich, southern Germany, Monday Oct. 20, 2014. A planned strike by pilots at Lufthansa has been expanded to include a one-day walkout Tuesday at the German airline's long-haul fleet. The Vereinigung Cockpit union already had announced a 35-hour strike at Lufthansa's short-haul fleet starting mid-Monday, the latest in a string of walkouts over retirement benefits. It expanded that to target long-haul services from 6 a.m. (0400 GMT) to midnight (2200 GMT) Tuesday. (AP Photo/Matthias Schrader)

    Cancelled Lufthansa flights are displayed at the airport in Munich, southern Germany, Monday Oct. 20, 2014. A planned strike by pilots at Lufthansa has been expanded to include a one-day walkout Tuesday at the German airline's long-haul fleet. The Vereinigung Cockpit union already had announced a 35-hour strike at Lufthansa's short-haul fleet starting mid-Monday, the latest in a string of walkouts over retirement benefits. It expanded that to target long-haul services from 6 a.m. (0400 GMT) to midnight (2200 GMT) Tuesday. (AP Photo/Matthias Schrader)  (The Associated Press)

A German court has rejected a bid by Lufthansa to force a union representing the company's pilots to call off a strike, the latest in a string of walkouts over retirement benefits.

The state labor court in Hesse, which includes Lufthansa's main Frankfurt hub, said Tuesday it rejected the airline's suit and found no grounds to declare the strike illegal. The Vereinigung Cockpit union started a 35-hour walkout at Lufthansa's short-haul fleet mid-Monday and extended it early Tuesday to the company's long-haul services.

The two sides have been fighting for months over the pilots' demand that Lufthansa keep paying a transition payment for those wanting to retire early. The airline, facing tough competition from European budget airlines and major Gulf carriers, wants to cut those payments.