German union announces day of strikes at multiple airports

Airports in major cities across Germany will come to a standstill on Friday during a one-day warning strike. Trade union Verdi says ongoing negotiations have not produced results.

The German trade union Verdi said in the early hours of Wednesday morning that it was calling for a one-day strike at airports across the country on Friday.

The strike will see the airports in the major cities of Frankfurt am Main, Munich, Stuttgart, Hamburg, Dortmund, Hanover and Bremen brought to a standstill for the whole day.

The warning strike comes ahead of a second round of negotiations between the union and public sector employers, set to take place on February 22 and 23.

Why are airport workers striking?

As well as public sector negotiations at the state and federal levels, negotiations are also planned for ground staff at the local level and for aviation security workers at the national level.

All three groups are subject to collective bargaining agreements.

“The workers are jointly applying pressure on their respective employers because negotiations so far have been unable to produce results,” Verdi deputy chair Christine Behle said in a statement.

Behle said that ground handling workers “need an attractive wage increase” to counter the “catastrophic labor shortage” that has been felt since the pandemic.

She also said that employers have refused to recognize the increase in bonuses that aviation security workers are entitled to as part of their collective bargaining agreement.

Strikes expected to have a big impact

The union warned that the industrial action will result in major delays and cancellations at German airports, but called for solidarity with the striking workers.

It also said that it had announced the strikes two days ahead of time to give travelers the chance to make alternative arrangements.

Aid deliveries to Turkey and Syria in the wake of the deadly earthquakes will be excluded from the strike action, the union added.

Verdi already held airport strikes in January at airports in Berlin — which affected some 300 flights — and Düsseldorf.

Airports are particularly vulnerable to strike action as there are several organized groups of workers who are necessary for continued operations.

Postal workers also took part in strikes in late January with Verdi demanding a 15% pay increase amid record profits. Some 16,700 people took part in the industrial action.

ab/jsi (dpa, AFP)

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