On Friday March 17th, close to 89,000 passengers were affected by cancellations of around 681 flights due to strikes at Germany‘s Düsseldorf, Cologne/Bonn and Stuttgart airports, the German Airport Association (ADV) reported. The strike was called after negotiations with management in a range of sectors, particularly travel and healthcare, have proved unfruitful.
Trade union Verdi is asking for a wage increase of 10.5 percent or a minimum of 500 euros per month, while the employers are offering a three percent increase and a one-off payment of 2,500 euros over two years. A spokesman for Verdi confirmed that the strikes at airports involved security and ground handling staff, as reported by German news outlet DW.
ADV CEO Ralph Beisel lamented that these actions are causing serious problems. “Passengers are not the only hostages of the strikes. It is being neglected that airlines and airports are recovering from the deepest crisis in aviation,” he noted.
The industrial action on Friday follows another one that took place on Monday March 13th at airports in Hamburg, Hannover, Bremen and Berlin. The strike also caused several delays and hundreds of flight cancellations.
Already on February 17th, a strike by ground staff paralyzed seven of Germany’s main airports on Friday, including Frankfurt airport, the busiest in the EU, in a protest that, according to the airport employers’ association, affected 300,000 travelers throughout the country. Passenger traffic was almost completely suspended at the airports of Frankfurt, Munich, Stuttgart (in southern Germany), Dortmund (west), Hannover, Bremen and Hamburg (north). Flights carrying humanitarian aid for earthquake victims in Turkey were not affected by the protest.
If nothing happens now with pay, then we are all in for another chaotic summer, and we must avoid that at all costs.Christine Behle, Verdi Vice President told German media.
According to DW, nationwide calls for industrial action have also been issued for nursing homes, hospitals, and other health institutions, the union stated. On Wednesday, strikes were reported in several hospitals in Hamburg and Kiel. Other parts of the country also showed industrial action activity as well.
Verdi called similar strikes earlier this year in kindergartens, schools, clinics and other parts of the German public sector. The third round of negotiations will begin on March 27th in the city of Potsdam.