Free Press Journal

Passengers hit as strike grounds several flights in Germany


Berlin: Thousands of air travellers have been hit by a public sector workers’ short-term strikes affecting hundreds of flights at six major airports across Germany.

At Germany’s largest airport in Frankfurt, around 390 out of 1,330 scheduled flights were cancelled yesterday after check-in and security services personnel, fire brigades and ground services staff laid down their work in response to a short-term strike call by the public sector workers’ trade union ver.di.

German airlines Lufthansa had cancelled around 900 flights ahead of the strike. The airline said its cancellation affected around 87,000 passengers.

The strike forced the cancellation of around 740 out of 1,100 flights planned for yesterday at Germany’s second largest airport in Munich, disrupting the travel plans of thousands of passengers.

A number of flights were cancelled also at the airports in Duesseldorf, Dortmund, Hannover and Cologne-Bonn.

Parallel to the airport strike, public services workers in other sectors all over Germany also joined the work stoppage, causing widespread disruption of bus and commuter train services, garbage collection and hospital services.

Ver.di had called the strike to press its demand for higher wages for its 2.14 million members ahead of a new round of wage negotiations with representatives of the federal government and the communes.

The trade union have been demanding a six per cent wage increase for a one year period.

At the last wage negotiations, employers offered a three per cent increase over a period two years, but this was rejected as insufficient by the trade union.

Germany’s interior minister Thomas de Maiziere, who is leading the negotiations for the federal government, sharply criticised the trade union for calling a strike.

He said strike was very “unreasonable” and there is no ground for crippling the operation of major airports or hospitals with the strike.