A strike by security staff at Frankfurt Airport asking for higher wages continues to cause the cancellation of flights and massive delays. The stoppage has crippled traffic at Europe's second busiest air travel hub.
The ver.di trade union on Friday called on the approximately 5,000 staff who conduct security checks on passengers, baggage and freight and who they represent at Frankfurt Airport to go on strike for the entire day. The union called on the workers to press for higher hourly wages.
The work stoppage came on the busiest day of the week for air travelers. Frankfurt usually processes 150,000 passengers on a Friday.
Around 80 of the airport's 1,300 flights were canceled, according to operator Fraport.
The main problem, said Fraport, was getting people through check-in and security points.
Because of the ongoing "massive strike action," the airport was forced to close part of its operations as it did not have the security personnel necessary to process passengers whose flights were originating in Frankfurt, airport spokesman Robert Payne said.
During the afternoon, Fraport advised passengers not to travel to the airport, and those that were already there to ask airlines about airline tickets or hotel rooms for the night.
Ver.di said the workers went on strike at around 2 a.m. local time (0100 UTC), with the stoppage expected to last until 11 p.m. as they press for an hourly raise in wages to 16 euros ($22). They are currently earning 10-13 euros per hour.
The strike comes after four rounds of talks between ver.di and employers' association BDSW ended without an agreement. The next round of talks is slated for March 5.
dr/ph (AP, Reuters, AFP, dpa)