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Delays likely over Berlin airports strike

March 9, 2017

Germany's Verdi union is warning of late flights and cancellations as ground staff at Berlin's two airports strike on Friday. Workers are demanding better working conditions and pay.

Flughafen Tegel in Berlin
Image: Sean Gallup/Getty Images

Passengers flying into Berlin's Tegel and Schönefeld have been told they could face delays of several hours and possibly flight cancellations due to Friday's walkout by members of the services union Verdi.

The strike is scheduled to begin at 4 a.m. local time (03.00 UTC) and last until 5 a.m. on Saturday.

The union is locked in negotiations with airport employers for better pay and working conditions for the more than 2,000 ground service staff at the two airports.

Row over pay hike

Verdi has called for an additional one euro per hour for the next year as well as additional improvements to the collective labor agreement for ground staff. Employers have offered an 8-percent pay hike over three years.

Verdi said Friday's strike was "inevitable," because employers had insisted they wouldn't negotiate over the pay offer.

The union polled staff last week and found 98.6 percent of respondents in favor of the walkout. Originally, Verdi planned to only give half a day's notice, but out of respect to passengers, more warning was given, it said.

Ground staff have staged other strikes at German airports in recent months, while Lufthansa pilots and flight crew have also walked off the job several times in rows over pay and pensions.

Lufthansa ground staff protests against striking pilots

mm/hg (AFP, dpa)