Germany: Flights cancelled as airport workers strike
Eight major German airports have come to a halt after hundreds of ground service members went on strike over pay.
Tens of thousands of passengers experienced flight delays and cancellations on Friday as staff at eight German airports went on strike for higher pay.
The Verdi trade union's full-day strike forced Germany's largest airline, Lufthansa, to cancel more than 1,300 flights at its busiest hubs, Frankfurt and Munich.
"The strike is expected to have a strong impact, especially on domestic air traffic, ranging from delays to cancellations and even a partial shutdown of air traffic," Verdi said in a statement.
German airport association ADV described the strike action as "completely unacceptable", adding that it would affect around 295,000 passengers and more than 2,300 flights.
"Solutions must be found at the negotiating table and not at the expense of passengers," ADV chief Ralph Beisel said in a statement.
Airports in the cities of Bremen, Dortmund, Hamburg, Hanover, Leipzig, and Stuttgart were also affected by the strike. It is worth noting that the next round of negotiations with businesses is set for February 22-23.
Verdi is requesting a 10.5 percent pay increase, or at least 500 euros ($530) per month, for public sector employees, as well as increased bonus payments for airport employees who work evenings and holidays.
The demands have been rejected by employers.
Verdi chief Frank Werneke said its members were ready to crank up the pressure with more strike action "if necessary." "The willingness to take action is large," Frankfurter Allgemeine Sonntagszeitung quoted Werneke as saying.
Germany has witnessed several strikes in recent weeks.
Last month's strike at Berlin Brandenburg airport resulted in the cancellation or rescheduling of around 300 flights.
Postal workers, public transportation personnel, and nursery workers have also staged rallies as they cope with a rise in living costs, as a result of the Western draconian sanctions on Russia, which fired back on them.