Transport Airports

Labor strike strands thousands of passengers at two German airports

Feb 15, 2013 10:25 am

Skift Take

The national angst caused by travelers looking for a way out of the Germany for the second day in a row was augmented on Friday when Berlin’s airport became the third to suspend flights following an accident.

— Samantha Shankman

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Thomas Peter  / Reuters

A stranded passenger sleeps in a deserted terminal at Schoenefeld airport outside Berlin April 18, 2010. Thomas Peter / Reuters


Thousands of travelers faced a second day of disruption at German airports as a strike by security guards over pay continued on Friday, causing more than 100 flight cancellations.

In addition, Berlin’s Schoenefeld airport said it had suspended all arrivals and departures until 8 a.m. ET after a small private plane ran off the runway in the morning.

Cologne-Bonn airport said more than half of the 200 flights scheduled for Friday had already been canceled and more would likely follow over the course of the day.

At the northern airport of Hamburg, numerous flights by airlines including Lufthansa were canceled. The airport’s operator said about 20,000 departing passengers were affected by the strike.

The strike had caused more than 200 flight cancellations at Hamburg and Duesseldorf airports on Thursday.

Duesseldorf is Germany’s third-busiest airport after Frankfurt and Munich, with more than 20 million passengers per year. Hamburg and Cologne-Bonn have about 13.6 and 9.6 million passengers per year, respectively.

Verdi is calling for wage rises of between 2.50 and 3.64 euros per hour for 34,000 security workers in the state of North Rhine-Westphalia, where Cologne-Bonn and Duesseldorf airports are located.

In Hamburg, the union is calling for a wage hike of 2.70 euros for around 600 security workers.

Works councils estimate that more than 70 percent of the employees work in the lowest wage group, earning just 8.23 euros gross ($11.06) per hour.

German security industry group BDSW has said Verdi’s demands were excessive.

Reporting by Matthias Inverardi. Writing by Maria Sheahan. Editing by Hans-Juergen Peters.

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