German strike disrupts flights

2012-03-27 16:23
Berlin - Hundreds of flights were cancelled on Tuesday at airports across Germany after workers walked out to join other public-sector employees in a series of strikes over pay.

The ver.di union is after a 6.5% increase in pay this year for two million federal and municipal government employees. It has rejected a 3.3% increase over two years, saying it wouldn't even keep pace with inflation.

The walkouts are part of a programme of so-called warning strikes - short-term walkouts - that have been held in various parts of Germany over the past week to increase pressure ahead of the next round of pay talks scheduled for Wednesday and Thursday.

Ver.di chief Frank Bsirske called on employers to change their offer, threatening wider labour unrest otherwise.

"We stand at a crossroads," the dapd news agency quoted Bsirske as saying.

German Interior Minister Hans-Peter Friedrich, who is handling the government negotiations in the dispute, criticised ver.di for bringing the strikes to the airports, calling it an "inappropriate response".

"We have made a substantial offer," he told the Rheinische Post newspaper. "It is uncalled-for to mistreat the public with these strikes."

Airline Lufthansa said on Tuesday it cancelled more than 400 flights at Frankfurt airport alone, where workers were off the job from early morning to mid-afternoon. Other airports affected include Munich, Duesseldorf, Cologne-Bonn, Stuttgart, Bremen, Hannover, Muenster, and Dortmund.

In Berlin's Tegel and Schoenefeld airports, baggage handlers who are also represented by ver.di but are engaged in a separate wage dispute were also off the job.

"I got to the airport to check in and it says our flight is cancelled," said London's Page Baker, sitting on the ground at Berlin's Tegel airport. "Now I can't get home and I'm not happy - I need to get home."

Outside the airports, bus and streetcar drivers, kindergarten teachers, garbage collectors and other public workers also staged warning strikes in various cities around the country.

Read more on:    germany  |  air travel

Join the conversation! encourages commentary submitted via MyNews24. Contributions of 200 words or more will be considered for publication.

We reserve editorial discretion to decide what will be published.
Read our comments policy for guidelines on contributions.
NEXT ON NEWS24X publishes all comments posted on articles provided that they adhere to our Comments Policy. Should you wish to report a comment for editorial review, please do so by clicking the 'Report Comment' button to the right of each comment.

Comment on this story
Comments have been closed for this article.

Inside News24


Book flights

Compare, Book, Fly

Traffic Alerts
There are new stories on the homepage. Click here to see them.


Create Profile

Creating your profile will enable you to submit photos and stories to get published on News24.

Please provide a username for your profile page:

This username must be unique, cannot be edited and will be used in the URL to your profile page across the entire network.


Location Settings

News24 allows you to edit the display of certain components based on a location. If you wish to personalise the page based on your preferences, please select a location for each component and click "Submit" in order for the changes to take affect.

Facebook Sign-In

Hi News addict,

Join the News24 Community to be involved in breaking the news.

Log in with Facebook to comment and personalise news, weather and listings.