The chaos in German air traffic continues for passengers. For this Friday, the Verdi union has called on employees in several areas at seven German airports to go on a all-day warning strike. Lufthansa's operations had only just returned to normal after the IT systems of Germany's largest airline collapsed on Wednesday. The cause was cable damage caused by an excavator on a railway line in Frankfurt.
The airport association ADV expects that large parts of the domestic German and international air traffic will not take place on Friday. The airports in Frankfurt, Munich, Stuttgart and Hamburg announced that they would stop regular passenger operations. According to ADV, the warning strike will lead to a good 2,340 flight cancellations. "More than 295,000 passengers become the plaything of the Verdi strike tactics," criticized the association and spoke of an "unprecedented escalation".
Surprising warning strike in Leipzig
Dortmund, Hanover and Bremen are also affected by the work stoppage. It is scheduled to start early Friday morning and end on Saturday night. According to the ADV statistics for 2022, the seven airports account for almost two thirds (64.5 percent) of the passengers in Germany. Surprisingly, Verdi called for a warning strike at Leipzig Airport on Thursday, which was to begin at 3 p.m. on the same day and last until 6 a.m. on Saturday.
With the walkout, the employees want to emphasize their demands in the collective bargaining dispute between the federal and local governments. In addition to the public service, there are local negotiations for ground handling services and a nationwide round of collective bargaining for aviation security.
Regular passenger operations will not be possible in Frankfurt on Friday, said the operator Fraport. Emergency flights are excluded. In Frankfurt alone, 1005 flight movements were planned for Friday. Fraport spoke of 137,000 affected passengers. She called on passengers not to come to the airport and to contact their airline for information. Switchers are also affected.
Lufthansa has to cancel around 1,200 flights at its most important locations in Frankfurt and Munich alone, as a spokesman announced on Wednesday evening. Thousands of passengers have to be rebooked on other flights or the train.
Aid flights to the earthquake area excluded from the strike
Verdi Vice President Christine Behle had declared that aid flights to Turkey and Syria would be exempted from the strike. In addition, aid supplies could be flown out via Frankfurt-Hahn Airport, which is not under strike. However, an unknown number of passenger flights, which could at least theoretically have transported relief supplies as additional cargo, are also canceled at the seven airports affected by the strike. According to the airlines, cargo planes planned for Friday by Turkish Airlines and Lufthansa Cargo should be allowed to take off.
The warning strike takes place at the beginning of the Munich Security Conference, which is one of the most important meetings on security policy worldwide and lasts from Friday to Sunday. Flights for the security conference are exempt from the suspension of normal passenger operations in Munich, the airport emphasized. The conference is working on being able to guarantee the arrival of the participants. Behle had recommended traveling by train or via Nuremberg Airport.
Those are the demands
Verdi and the civil servants' association DBB are demanding 10.5 percent more income in the public service wage dispute, but at least 500 euros more for the approximately 2.5 million federal and local employees. The term should be twelve months. The employers have rejected the claims. The second round of negotiations is scheduled for February 22nd and 23rd in Potsdam. An offer from the employer has not yet been received.
The employers in the aviation security industry criticized the walkout. The association BDLS defended itself against the union strategy that its negotiations with those of the public service and the ground handling services are amalgamated. "Verdi is working together with several other trades, and so the goals and limits of the strike are blurred for outsiders. This is deliberately exploited," said BDLS negotiator Rainer Friebertshäuser.