Security Staff Strikes Cause Major Disruptions at 8 German Airports

March 22, 2022
Scores of flights were cancelled at eight major German airports on Tuesday as security staff walked out in the latest strikes regarding pay.

Frankfurt — Scores of flights were cancelled at eight major German airports on Tuesday as security staff walked out in the latest strikes regarding pay.

Trade union giant Verdi announced the latest strikes on Monday. They began at midnight ( 2300 GMT) and are to last 24 hours at airports in Frankfurt, Berlin, Bremen, Hamburg, Hanover, Stuttgart, Dusseldorf and Cologne/Bonn.

At Germany's largest airport in Frankfurt, many passengers were unable to board their flights, with security controls only made available to individuals in transit.

By the morning, 108 of 790 planned departures had been cancelled, according to the airport operator Fraport.

Severe disruptions were also reported in the capital Berlin, where the operator warned in a tweet of "numerous flight cancellations," as well as Hamburg, where the airport announced that all 88 planned departures had been axed.

Passengers have been urged to check the status of their flights before travelling to the affected airports.

Verdi's dispute with the BDLS, the federal aviation security association, was already accompanied by staggered strikes early last week which resulted flight cancellations.

A fourth round of collective bargaining talks ended without result last week. Negotiations are to resume on Thursday in Raunheim, outside Frankfurt, as Verdi seeks to redraw the contracts of some 25,000 security workers nationwide.

Verdi is demanding an hourly wage increase for airport security staff of at least €1 ($1.11). It also wants wages be brought into line across different regions and standardized pay brackets to be established.

The companies, however, have warned that such measures would be too costly, amounting to up to 40% more pay for certain workers. BDLS negotiator Rainer Friebertshäuser has previously said that the association has offered a raise of up to 22%.

Verdi's industrial action has been sharply criticized by the aviation branch, already smarting from a collapse in business earlier in the pandemic, amid fears that the union could drag the row out into the key Easter travel season.

The German Aviation Association (BDL) complained that the strikes were hitting airlines and passengers although they were not directly involved in the conflict.

"This is unfair and makes it difficult for airlines and their employees to recover economically after the pandemic-related collapse," BDL executive director Matthias von Randow said.

Security staff at German airports are managed by the federal police, who tend to outsource the work to private companies.

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