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Delays feared during staff strikes at Germany's Hamburg and Köln/Bonn airports

Security staff at Germany's Hamburg and Köln/Bonn airports have stopped work, prompting fears of lengthy delays. It follows similar strike action over pay at Hamburg and Düsseldorf airports on Thursday.

Passengers traveling out of two international airports in Germany faced long delays on Friday after security staff failed to turn up for work as part of ongoing strike action.

At west Germany's Köln/Bonn airport at least half of the day's flights were cancelled, the airport's website said, when staff downed tools at 4 a.m. local time. Hamburg's airport, meanwhile, warned of a dramatically reduced service for a second day on Friday, with delays lasting up to four hours.

Friday's strikes were just the latest in a series of work stoppages called by Germany's biggest services-sector union, Verdi, to back up its demand for a significant pay rise for the security personnel. The union argues that the majority of workers who play a key role in trying to prevent terrorist attacks are underpaid.

Strike action at Hamburg and Düsseldorf airports on Thursday reportedly affected tens of thousands of passengers. In Düsseldorf, Germany's third largest airport, every third flight was cancelled. In Hamburg one in two flights was grounded with waiting times of up to three hours.

ccp/mkg (dpa, APFD)