A strike by security staff at Germany’s Dusseldorf and Cologne airports has cancelled nearly 200 flights while a pay dispute at Hamburg’s airport could also lead to a walkout.
FRANKFURT – Passengers travelling through Germany's Dusseldorf and Cologne airports suffered a second day of disruption on Friday as security personnel continued a strike over pay.
Dusseldorf, Germany's third largest airport, canceled roughly 130 out of 560 flights, while at the smaller Cologne/Bonn airport, an additional 40 flights were scrapped.
Passengers at Dusseldorf with flights that were still running faced lines of up to two hours to have their coats, bags and shoes x-rayed.
The airports will be spared strikes over the weekend to give the employers a chance to make a new pay offer, the Verdi union said on Friday.
However, there is every chance that Hamburg’s airport could also face a walkout after a separate set of pay talks for security staff there collapsed.
Verdi has called for substantial increases in pay for staff employed by private security firms to pull them out of the low pay sector. In North Rhine-Westphalia state, it wants a 33 percent increase in pay for around 1,000 security personnel.
The BDSW association representing the security firms has called the pay demand "completely excessive" and said the strike is out of proportion. It has offered a pay rise of 9.22 percent.
The BDSW said on Friday that talks for a pay deal for the 600 people who carry out passenger security checks at Hamburg Airport had broken down. In those talks, Verdi had called for a 23 percent pay increase with immediate effect, while employers have offered a two stage increase.
Hamburg security personnel had already walked out last Friday, forcing a third of flights to be canceled.
Verdi has previously said the strikes could go on indefinitely and could be extended to include other staff and security personnel in a show of solidarity.
The strikes at Dusseldorf and Cologne/Bonn resulted in around 200 flights being canceled on Thursday.
Reporting by Victoria Bryan and Peter Maushagen