Strikes cause Frankfurt Airport to cancel 200 flights | News | DW | 27.02.2012
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Strikes cause Frankfurt Airport to cancel 200 flights

Frankfurt Airport was forced to cancel 200 flights on Monday after ground control workers walked out in their latest warning strike. More than 1,000 flights were expected to operate on schedule.

The latest warning strike by ground control workers at Germany's biggest airport forced the cancellation of about 200 flights on Monday. Fraport, the company that operates Frankfurt's international airport, said it expected around about 80 percent of the almost 1,300 scheduled flights to go ahead.

The bulk of the cancellations affected flight operated by Germany's flag carrier, Lufthansa. The airline, which account for about half of the traffic in and out of Frankfurt, cancelled 140 flights on Monday and a similar number for Tuesday.

The GdF trade union, which represents about 200 ground control staff at Frankfurt Airport took its members off the job late on Sunday evening. They weren't due to return to work until Thursday at 5 a.m.

Two sides far apart

This is just the latest set of warning strikes that GdF has called to back up its demands for higher wages and improved working conditions. The previous five days of strikes over the past two weeks resulted in an average of 200 flights per day being cancelled. Fraport has been using non-unionized replacement workers to keep the majority of the flights in the air. Priority is being given to long-haul flights, most of the cancelations apply to inner German or European flights.

The two sides in the labor dispute appear to remain far apart. The union's board was to meet later in the day to discuss its strike strategy. It's now looking for ways to increase the pressure on management.

"We will discuss this evening whether other union members such as the tower controllers will join the strike in a show of solidarity" a GdF spokesman to the Reuters news agency.

GdF is seeking higher wages and shorter working hours for the ground control workers. Fraport has dismissed the union's demands as excessive.

pfd/ncy (Reuters, dpa)