Strike by German airport security staff causes travel chaos

BERLIN (AP) — A one-day strike by security staff at three German airports yesterday caused travel chaos for tens of thousands of travellers.

The ver.di union called on staff at airports in Duesseldorf, Cologne-Bonn and Stuttgart to walk off the job all day, leading to hundreds of flights being cancelled.

The German news agency dpa reported that 350 flights were cancelled at Duesseldorf, 142 at Stuttgart and 131 at Cologne-Bonn.

Up to 110,000 passengers may be affected only by the cancellations at those three airports, according to dpa.

Other airports in the country were also affected by the strike including Berlin where 90 flights had to be cancelled at the capital’s Tegel airport and another four at Schoenefeld airport.

A screen shows cancelled flights at the airport in Stuttgart, southern Germany. – AP

“Check the status of your flight at the airline before coming to the airport,” Berlin Airport Service tweeted yesterday morning.

About 100 flights were cancelled at Munich’s international airport, though some because of the continuing snowfall in southern Germany.

At Duesseldorf airport, hundreds of security employees protested by blowing whistles and holding banners with slogans like “More salary? For sure!” The departure and arrival displays showed hundreds of cancellations while airlines were struggling to book passengers on other flights or gave out vouchers for train rides instead.

Ver.di has said employers “provoked” the strike by offering a two-per cent pay increase over two years.

The union wants hourly pay for all workers conducting security checks to rise to 20 euros (USD23.10). Employer association BDLS says this could amount to a 30-per cent increase in some cases. The next round of talks is due on January 23.

Yesterday’s action was the second time security employees went on strike this week. On Monday, they staged a walk-out at Berlin’s two airports which caused disruption.