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German union calls for strikes at three major airports

April 18, 2023

Germany's Verdi trade union called on workers in the security areas at Düsseldorf, Cologne/Bonn and Hamburg airports to walk off the job on Thursday and Friday.

Hamburg Airport, Germany
Hamburg Airport said that the strike will begin on Wednesday at 10 p.m. local time (2000 GMT) and end on Friday at 11 p.m.Image: Marcus Brandt/dpa/picture alliance

The German trade union Verdi called for all-day warning strikes on Thursday and Friday for employees in several areas of the Düsseldorf, Hamburg and Cologne/Bonn airports.

"The strike begins on the night from Wednesday to Thursday and ends on the night from Friday to Saturday," Verdi said on Tuesday.

The sectors to be affected include the aviation security area, passenger control, personnel and goods control and service areas. "Longer waiting times or even flight cancellations are to be expected due to the strike," the trade union warned.

Hamburg Airport said all departures would be cancelled or take place without passengers on Thursday and Friday due to a strike, with around 80,000 passengers likely to be affected.  Arrivals will still be possible, it added.

Why did Verdi call for strikes?

The reason for the strikes are negotiations between Verdi and the Federal Association of Aviation Security Companies (BDLS) on time bonuses for night shifts, Saturdays, Sundays and work on public holidays. 

Workers are also fighting for a better collective agreement on overtime pay for security and service staff at commercial airports.

Despite the recent strikes, there has been no breakthrough so far. A written offer by BDLS was insufficient, the union stressed.

"Work at airports must become more attractive in order to be able to keep aviation security specialists and recruit new ones in order to avoid longer waiting times for holidaymakers," Verdi representative Wolfgang Pieper said.

 "We call on the BDLS to finally present a negotiable offer in the negotiations on April 27th and 28th in order to avoid further strikes and to end the conflict before Pentecost," he added.

Warning strike at Deutsche Bahn planned for Friday

Meanwhile, German media reported that further warning strikes were also planned at Deutsche Bahn and other railway companies in the next few days. An exact date is not yet known, but according to media reports, there was talk of a strike this Friday.

The railway and transport union (EVG) wants to announce this Wednesday how it will proceed in the wage dispute with Deutsche Bahn and around 50 other companies. At the end of March, the union, together with the Verdi services union, called for a major strike nationwide, which affected airports and ports in addition to buses and trains.

dh/jcg (dpa, AFP, Reuters)

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