A strike called by security staff in Germany on Tuesday brought operations to a halt at eight airports in the country. The strike followed a stalemate over the workers’ long-standing demand for a pay rise to a minimum of 20 euros per hour. Some of the airports where workers are striking include Frankfurt, Hamburg, Hanover and Bremen.
The security staff of five airports had gone on strike on January 10 too.
German trade union ver.di, in a statement, noted the reasons for the demand. “The number of passengers is constantly increasing, and thus the burden on employees increases. In 2018, passenger traffic in Berlin increased to a total of 35 million people. Airport security service must be treated as skilled job and these days, a majority of airports are understaffed. Increasing the payment for security staff won’t add so much burden to the total expenditure on airport security”, the union pointed out.
The German Civil Service Federation (DBB) said they had given a call for a warning strike in Frankfurt on January 15 from 2 pm-8 pm as collective bargaining negotiations with the Federal Association of Air Traffic Control (BDLS) for approximately 23,000 employees had been fruitless.
“The DBB advocates a nationwide collective bargaining agreement, improved shell regulations, as well as a new regulation of the payment framework – including time surcharges – for employees in passenger, freight, personnel and goods control and beyond that also for the service staff, including luggage cart management and other services”, the federation said.
According to reports, ver.di will resume negotiations with the Federal Association of Air Traffic Control (BDLS) on January 23.
The strike is also expected to spread to other airports including Munich, Leipzig, Dresden and Erfurt. Major airlines, including Lufthansa, cancelled several of their scheduled flights. Reuters reported that the German airport association, ADV, estimated that the strike would affect 220,000 passengers.
On January 10, Sputnik had reported that hundreds of flights at Germany’s Stuttgart, Düsseldorf and Koeln/Bonn airports were cancelled. A total of 500 flights were cancelled in Stuttgart, 350 in Duesseldorf and over 130 in Koeln/Bonn.
In their statement on January 15, the leftist party, DIE LINKE, expressed its solidarity with the employees. “The people who ensure our safety there deserve a fair wage. They perform a responsible job and are particularly burdened by shift work and weekend work. This applies equally to East and West [Germany], that it is still paid differently, is an absurdity,” the party said.
“Poor employee pay, under-staffing and unbearably long waiting times for passengers: The profit interests of security companies and the desire of airport operators for cheap services jeopardize smooth flight operations. Therefore, the strike of security personnel is not just about paying, but also about restoring acceptable conditions for passengers. The Federal Association of aviation security companies must finally submit an acceptable offer”, the party added.