On Monday, tens of thousands of air travelers once again had to prepare for significant delays and cancellations at several airports in Germany. On Monday, the northern German airports of Hamburg, Hanover, Bremen and the capital's Berlin-Brandenburg airport BER will be on strike all day long by Verdi. This should also have an impact on other airports. The union has called on security guards and other workers to take industrial action. Longer waiting times and even flight cancellations are to be expected, Verdi said on Saturday.
According to the airport association ADV, 351 departures are currently being cancelled. 45,000 passengers are directly affected. A total of almost 100,000 affected passengers can be expected, as flights from other airports will also be cancelled. The association criticized that travelers would once again become a pawn in the labor dispute and complained that the announcement had come at short notice. The passengers would hardly have a chance to look for alternatives.
According to the union, the reason for this is the unsuccessful collective bargaining for the payment of aviation security employees for working at inconvenient times. But negotiations for employees in ground handling services and employees in the public sector at federal and local level also played a role.
According to its own statements, Verdi has been in negotiations with the Federal Association of Aviation Security Companies (BDLS) for years. The surcharges have not been improved since 2006, and there has been talk of an increase since 2013. It was most recently agreed in early 2019 to continue negotiations on this. According to Verdi, they were recorded in January and continued in February 2020.
10.5 percent more wages demanded
Because of the pandemic, the talks were not continued by the BDLS. According to Verdi, the BDLS was only ready to negotiate the demands after a new agreement in the 2022 pay scale round. The employers have not yet submitted an offer. The BDLS initially had no comment.
At the capital's BER airport, the warning strike is scheduled to begin at 3:30 a.m. on Monday and end at midnight. According to BER, around 200 departures will be canceled in Berlin. About 27,000 passengers are affected. There will be no regular flights from Hamburg Airport from Sunday evening to Monday evening. "Because the passengers cannot go through the checkpoint, which is under strike, all 123 planned departures will be canceled or will take place without passengers," said Hamburg Airport on Sunday.
In Hamburg, Verdi called around 2,000 employees to a 24-hour warning strike at the start of the night shift on Sunday around 10 p.m. The airport expects significant restrictions for tens of thousands of travelers. "And that in the middle of the Hamburg March holidays, which are a popular travel time for families with children," said airport spokeswoman Janet Niemeyer.
According to Verdi, it can be assumed at the airports in Hanover and Bremen that no passenger aircraft will be able to take off or land on the day of the strike. In Hanover, 35 departures and 34 arrivals were planned for Monday. The walkout has been announced for 24 hours from midnight. "This is very annoying for the passengers, but there are still no holidays in Lower Saxony," said a spokeswoman for the airport. 20 departures and 19 arrivals were scheduled in Bremen.
ADV general manager Ralph Beisel accused Verdi of abusing the airports in the public service wage dispute as a public platform for enforcing their demands. It is also unacceptable for the airport operators that Verdi's negotiations with employers in the aviation security industry are mixed up with collective bargaining in the public sector. It is completely ignored that airlines and airports are recovering from the deepest crisis in aviation.
The union is demanding 10.5 percent more wages, but at least 500 euros more per month, for around 2.5 million employees in the federal and local public services nationwide. The employer side has so far offered five percent more money in two steps and one-off payments of 2500 euros. The third round of negotiations is scheduled for March 27-29 in Potsdam.