Thousands of passengers were affected by a short-notice strike at ten airports across Germany, as 1,000 security staff demand better working conditions. The action started on Monday morning and lasted for several hours.
The strike, organized by the trade union ver.di, which represents about 15,000 security personnel at German airports, brought disruption to daily operations.
“We’re aiming to hit the employers, which is why the strike was called on short notice,” Deutsche Welle’s website quotes ver.di’s spokesman Christoph Schmitz as saying.
Security personnel responsible for baggage and passenger checks were on strike at the Frankfurt, Baden-Baden/Karlsruhe, Berlin Tegel, Berlin Schönefeld, Bremen, Düsseldorf, Hamburg, Hanover, Cologne-Bonn and Stuttgart airports.
Germany‘s largest and Europe’s third-busiest airport is Frankfurt, where 80 security staff left their workplaces for several hours, was not significantly affected, a spokesman for operator Fraport told DPA.
Delays and cancellations reportedly hit Berlin‘s two airports, Tegel and Schoenefeld, where about 100 security guards went on strike at each gate. In Tegel, 14 flights were cancelled, although it was unclear whether some were scrapped because of weather. While in Schoenefeld flights were delayed by up to one hour. Cologne-Bonn airport had delays with long queues at security check-in points, according to German media. Local air carrier Lufthansa reportedly canceled 90 flights due to the strike.
“Late flights and delays are to be expected,” ver.di spokesman Schmitz also stressed.
With the unexpected strike, the workers hoped for improvements in labor negotiations between airport security staff and their bosses, which had stalled after four rounds in November. The ver.di members demand longer working contracts, shorter shifts and better pay.
“We want employers to work with us towards a constructive agreement. Then there will be no need to strike,” Schmitz told AFP. The next round of talks is scheduled for mid-January.
Earlier in September, German air carrier Lufthansa had to cancel more than 1,000 flights as the company’s cabin crews went on an overnight strike, protesting low pay and poor working conditions, and demanding a five per cent increase in salaries. The action included six main German airports, affecting around 100,000 passengers.