Seven in one fell swoop – at Frankfurt, Munich, Stuttgart, Dortmund, Hamburg, Hanover and Bremen airports, the Verdi trade union largely brought air traffic to a standstill with strike calls on Friday. Employees of airport companies, private apron service providers and security services at checkpoints went on strike. The airport association ADV estimated that 2340 flights for about 295,000 passengers were cancelled throughout the day.
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With the walkout, Verdi bundled three different wage disputes, the one for employees in the public sector of the federal government and municipalities, the one for ground handling services at airports and the one for aviation security services. The third is currently – because of a collective wage agreement that runs until the end of the year – only about regulations for surcharges.
Verdi threatens strikes in "another dimension"
In the run-up to the strike day, Verdi deputy chairwoman Christine Behle had argued that the joint strike would relieve airports and passengers. For the airports, this means "that they only have to prepare for this one day and are not on strike on different days".
The focus was on the conflict in the public sector. Because of this, subways and trams remained in the depots in Frankfurt, elsewhere waste disposal companies and daycare centers were affected. Verdi is demanding wage increases of 10.5 percent – but at least 500 euros a month. With the walkout on Friday, the union wanted to increase the pressure on employers before the next round of negotiations on Wednesday next week.
Verdi chairman Frank Werneke warned of more consequential strike action if an agreement was not reached soon. "At the moment we are still talking about individual warning strikes, limited in time and region. If necessary, we will significantly expand this in the coming weeks," he told the Frankfurter Allgemeine Sonntagszeitung. "The next strikes have a different dimension."
With a view to the airports, Verdi points out that staff shortages persist due to low pay, it threatens as in 2022 again a "chaos summer". Therefore, lower income groups would have to be strengthened in particular. At Berlin Airport, Verdi had agreed with ground service providers on increases in two stages of 448 to 490 euros a month.
There was emptiness at the airports on Friday. Almost all the passengers had not even gotten there. Deutsche Lufthansa completely ceased its passenger operations in Frankfurt and Munich. "More than 1300 flight cancellations for the airlines of the Lufthansa Group alone show once again how vulnerable and vulnerable the air traffic system is due to strike activities," said Chief Human Resources Officer Michael Niggemann.
Domestic travelers should switch to Deutsche Bahn, which reported a slightly increased passenger volume. The Frankfurt airport operator Fraport announced that there should be only twelve flight movements instead of the regular 1000, mainly aid flights for earthquake victims in Turkey.
The holiday flight providers Condor and TUI Fly found a way to avoid the strike for some of their customers. They moved take-offs to airports that were not on strike. Condor had a large part of the long-haul flights planned from Frankfurt start in Düsseldorf. The TUI company, which wanted to fly at least half of its plan, switched to regional airports such as Karlsruhe/Baden-Baden or Memmingen. A holiday flight to Fuerteventura even started in Braunschweig, where otherwise no traffic with larger aircraft is common. Passengers were taken by buses to the point of departure.