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Security personnel strikes at German airports

Security personnel have entered the second day of strikes at two German airports, resulting in flight delays and cancellations. A services-sector union has called the stoppages to back up its demands for higher pay.

Passengers waited in long queues at security checkpoints at Düsseldorf International Airport and the Cologne-Bonn Airport on Friday morning as the strike entered its second day. Both hubs are located in the country's most populous state, North Rhine-Westphalia.

Germany's third largest airport, Düsseldorf International, dropped more than 50 flights, mostly involving Air Berlin and Lufthansa. Airport management said it expected about 24,000 departing passengers on Friday. Passengers were advised to check the status of their flights prior to arriving at the airport.

At the Cologne-Bonn Airport, at least 26 takeoffs and landings were canceled due to the strike, according to a spokeswoman.

A push for higher wages

Germany's large services-sector trade union ver.di began work stoppages last week at Hamburg Airport to back up its demand for a major pay raise for the security staff employed by contractors who are responsible for checking passengers and their carry-on luggage prior to flights. Ver.di is demanding a pay increase of as much as 30 percent.

According to the union, as much as 80 percent of the security personnel work for a wage of 8.23 euros ($10.99) per hour.

"Apparently the private security companies want to ride out the strikes. This has only provoked the workers to take a harder stance," ver.di negotiator Andrea Becker said.

The strike is expected to continue into Friday evening and permanent strikes are possible in the future, ver.di said.

In Düsseldorf on Thursday almost 200 flights were canceled. At Cologne-Bonn Airport almost 50 arrivals and departures were canceled. The cancelled flights were mainly to domestic or headed to other European destinations.

The strike at Hamburg Airport last Friday led to the cancellation of around a third of the day's 176 scheduled flights.

hc/xx (Reuters, dpa)