This file photo taken on March 15, 2022, shows security employees who control the flow of passengers and luggage walking through a terminal at the airport during a one day strike in Frankfurt, Germany. (PHOTO / AP)
BERLIN – Strikes planned at seven German airports for Friday will lead to "massive disruptions", the operator of the country's largest airport, in Frankfurt, warned on Wednesday, setting the stage for another day of travel disruption caused by wage disputes.
German trade union Verdi on Wednesday called on workers at Frankfurt, Munich, Stuttgart, Hamburg, Dortmund, Hanover and Bremen airports to go on a 24-hour strike, saying collective bargaining efforts had made little progress.
"On Friday, February 17, 2023, there will therefore be massive disruptions to air traffic," said Fraport, the operator of Frankfurt airport, which counted more than 48 million passengers in 2022.
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All functions allowing full flight operations would be suspended at the airport as a result, it added in a statement, urging travelers to avoid the airport that day.
Airlines across Europe have faced labor strife since last year as the rapid recovery in tourism led to staff shortages and soaring inflation prompted employees to demand higher wages
The strike is expected to affect domestic travel in particular, according to Verdi, which said it had given advance warning about the strike so passengers could find alternative options.
The walkout also coincides with the start of the 59th Munich Security Conference (MSC), which brings hundreds of delegates to the Bavarian capital, including several global leaders.
The strike will have an effect on the conference schedule, said an MSC spokesperson, who added that organizers are in close contact with all parties to minimize the impact of the strike.
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A Verdi spokesperson in Munich said flights at the airport in the Bavarian city would largely be grounded on Friday, but MSC participants should be able to land via emergency services.
The issue would be discussed with the airport on Thursday, the Verdi spokesperson added.
The union is currently in negotiations for three groups of workers: ground service staff, public sector officials and aviation security workers.
"There is still a catastrophic shortage of workers in ground services – this was clearly felt by travelers last summer," Verdi board member Christine Behle said in a statement.
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Airlines across Europe have faced labor strife since last year as the rapid recovery in tourism led to staff shortages and soaring inflation prompted employees to demand higher wages.
The new year brought with it fresh action in Germany as a walkout organized by Verdi at the Berlin airport, which is not directly impacted by Friday's strike, led to the cancellation of all flights on Jan 25.