German court bans widening of airport strike | News | DW | 28.02.2012
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German court bans widening of airport strike

Frankfurt airport operator Fraport has won an injunction to prevent a strike by ground staff from widening. The move comes after the union involved told air traffic controllers to join industrial action.

The Frankfurt Labor Court enjoined ground traffic controllers from continuing their strike at the Frankfurt Airport in a court ruling Wednesday. Airport operator Fraport won a temporary injunction Tuesday against a plan for additional airport workers to take part in a solidarity walkout.

The GdF, the union representing the strikers, had urged air traffic control staff among its members to join some 200 ground control workers who are involved in a bitter industrial pay dispute. The walkout by air traffic controllers, from 5 a.m. to 9 a.m. local time on Wednesday, would have likely forced a complete shut-down of Europe's third-busiest airport.

"The step is meant to show solidarity with the GdF members in the struggle against Fraport," the union said in a statement earlier on Tuesday.

The DFS air traffic controllers' authority had, however, urged its Frankfurt staff not to join the strike.

"This strike is becoming increasingly out of proportion, which is why we have decided to apply for a temporary injunction against the solidarity strike," Fraport labor executive Herbert Mai said earlier on Tuesday.

He went on to accuse the GdF, the union representing the strikers, of "acting completely irresponsibly to try and push through their exaggerated demands."

Strike over pay

The union is seeking higher wages and shorter working hours for the airport's so-called apron staff. Lengthy strike action has forced the cancellation of some 1,400 flights since February 16, when the strike started. In the latest walkout, ground control workers were not due to return to work until 5 a.m. on Thursday.

The Frankfurt Labor Courton Wednesday morning heard a second case brought by Fraport and German airline Lufthansa to ban the strike.

Fraport has managed to keep the impact to a minimum by reshuffling its workforce, so that around 80 percent of daily scheduled flights have continued to operate.

ccp/rc (AFP, Reuters)