• Germany's news in English
 

Frankfurt Airport workers halt strike for talks

Published: 22 Feb 2012 11:57 GMT+01:00
Updated: 22 Feb 2012 13:50 GMT+01:00

Matthias Maas, a spokesman for the GdF union which represents the 200 workers said so-called "apron staff" that guide planes on the ground would be back on the job beginning with Wednesday's night shift. Negotiations with airport operator Fraport are set to begin Thursday morning.

Hundreds of flights – mostly intra-European and German domestic flights – have been cancelled since warning strikes took place Thursday and Friday followed by full strikes from Monday through Wednesday.

About 165 of the roughly 1,200 flights scheduled to take off on Wednesday were cancelled, according to Fraport. About 80 percent of scheduled flights remained on schedule by training temporary employees to take over the duties of the striking workers.

Despite Fraport’s assertion that its contingency plans had worked, GdF board member Markus Siebers called the strike “a great success.”

Although it has remained largely quiet during the strike, the airport’s main airline Lufthansa on Wednesday called on Fraport to resist the controllers’ demands of increase in their salaries and a decrease in working hours.

“We are the party most affected by the strike,” Lufthansa manager Stefan Lauer told the Financial Times Deutschland. “We believe Fraport should not give in to the GdF’s blackmail.”

Right now, controllers working on the aircraft apron and in air traffic control centres earn between about €50,000 and €70,000 per year, sums which the GdF say don’t take into account factors such as an increased workload since a new runway opened.

“This dispute continuing to the detriment of passengers and airlines must come to an end,” said Stefan Schulte, an executive with Fraport.

The Local/DAPD/DPA/mdm

Related links:

The Local (news@thelocal.de)

Your comments about this article

13:48 February 22, 2012 by wood artist
That wage translates to somewhere around $70,000 to $100,000 per year in the US. I'm not certain of how the relative cost of living translates, but that would be a pretty decent wage in the US, and well above average. Yes, these folks get to work outside in the weather, but beyond that, it doesn't seem to be an incredibly physically demanding job.

In any case, whatever sympathy I might have had for them is gone! Get your butt back to work and be happy you live in Germany where most people who want a job can have one and health care is universally available.

wa
14:38 February 22, 2012 by yourkeau
@wood artist

why do you compare with the US? Why not Zimbabwe or India? 100 $ a month would also be a decent salary in Afghanistan, well above the average, so what? Also, these salaries are brutto, so net salaries will be around 2500-3000 euro/month. I would say, this is not a good wage for such an important and highly qualified job.

This is Europe, people strike here, whether you like it or not. If someone go on strike, there should be a reason for it.
15:53 February 22, 2012 by catjones
@yourkeau...two things: you obviously like extremes and you don't travel by air. When strikes start costing your family money, chime in with your support.
16:34 February 22, 2012 by yourkeau
@catjones

>two things: you obviously like extremes and you don't travel by air.

How do you know this? Instead, I know a few things about you: you obviously don't know your passenger rights:

>When strikes start costing your family money

As the strike was announced in advance, in first place you should not have chosen FRA for you departure flight. But if you did so (ie booked a ticket in advance), the airline is obliged to buy you another ticket, e.g. from Munich, and pay for the train "Frankfurt--Munich" as well.

If you don't like strikes, do not travel or live in Europe. Nowdays, worker's rights are being violated more and more (see what happens in Greece) and certainly the strikes will be more frequent in the near future.

I treat them in the same manner as snowfalls or volcanoes.
20:48 February 22, 2012 by Ramp Worker
@ wood artist

....... these people work the ramp....but in a van that has AC in the summer and heat in the winter....so it is not that hard for the money they make. And lets be real here...if you can follow a yellow line and talk on the radio you too can be a "Follow Me". For the job I do on the ramp (in the weather) I must constantly be current on a number of different systems and types of Aircraft. As a type rated Aircraft Mechanic I make far less money and work longer and harder than these folks do. If they are not happy in there work maybe they should find another job. Oh yes don't get me wrong I love what I do and would do it for less money....but lets not tell anyone that......stay safe out there on the ramp.
21:35 February 22, 2012 by wood artist
@ramp worker

I think that's my point. These are jobs that require a specific set of skills. However, from what I've seen (and I'll admit I've never done the job) they aren't skills that require years of schooling or specialized certification beyond the typical. So...the question becomes simply "Have they priced themselves out of the market?" At those salaries, I'd say Yes. There are plenty of people who would gladly take the time to learn that job...and be very happy doing it for less.

@yourkeau

My comparison was based upon two things: First, the US and Germany are somewhat similar in that both have significantly developed economies with labor unions and similar pools of workers and jobs. Comparing the German salaries with...say...India, would serve no purpose, because it would be like comparing apples and bananas. India has a much lower standard of living for most residents, a surplus of people with few job skills and limited education, and many other "cost of living" things that make any comparison impossible.

You are correct in saying that if people go on strike they should have a reason for doing so. Asking for more money when they are already probably priced out of the overall job market may be a "reason" but that doesn't make it a "good reason." If, for example, Fraport were to advertise that all those jobs were available...starting immediately...and they would provide the necessary training, I'm betting there would be a line from the Frankfurt airport to...oh...somewhere just south of Köln. In short, no matter what you THINK you're worth, or your job is worth, at some point the overall market will tell you if you're right. In this case, I believe the overall market would say...No!

wa
10:29 February 23, 2012 by The-ex-pat
I work for an airline and I see daily on the ramp what these guys do and I can tell you it is not a lot. Driving the "Follow Me" wagon for the amount of money they get is already well paid. However, as usual in Germany, the degree of self importance in any position is always very high. In days gone by, the Follow Me wagon was only used when the crew requested it if they had never landed at said airport before fr there was bad weather etc, today it is standard for every landing no matter if it is a pilots home airport. The way it is used today is ridiculous and the pilots agree too. It is another way of justifying high landing fees and is done in the name of safety, but does not actually increase it. You should see them during push back and follow me at the airport I work for. Anyone would think that they were American or UK police, they strut around around as if they own the aircraft. I was stopped by one last week as I walked by an engine I was about to service. He started to try and tell me the dangers of jet engines even though I was carrying tools, had company clothes on with the same logo as that on the aircraft. He got quite irate when I just walked away laughing.
Today's headlines
Drug-related crimes hit ten-year high
Photo: DPA

Drug-related crimes hit ten-year high

The Criminal Investigation Department (BKD) released figures on Tuesday showing that cases of drug-related crimes have risen to the highest number in a decade. READ  

Germany has second-highest surplus in EU
Photo: DPA

Germany has second-highest surplus in EU

Germany reported the second-largest government surpluses as a percentage of GDP in the EU last year and was one of only four countries to stay in the black, according to a report published on Tuesday. READ  

Church fires woman for secret porn career
Photo: DPA

Church fires woman for secret porn career

A woman has taken her former employers, a protestant social welfare organization, to court after they fired her upon discovering she had appeared in porn films. The court rejected her appeal. READ  

Merkel and Tsipras in new one-on-one meet
Merkel and Tsipras at a previous meeting in Berlin in March. Photo: DPA

Merkel and Tsipras in new one-on-one meet

Greek Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras will meet German Chancellor Angela Merkel Thursday on the sidelines of an EU summit, the Athens government said as it continues to wrangle with creditors over a new rescue package. READ  

Opinion
Stop mass deaths in the Mediterranean
Photo: Greek defence ministry/DPA

Stop mass deaths in the Mediterranean

After a boat with more than 900 people on board sank off the Libyan coast on Sunday, Amnesty International's General Secretary for Germany Selmin Çalışkan calls for change in Europe's Mediterranean policy. READ  

Auschwitz defendant admits 'moral guilt'
Oskar Gröning in court in Lüneburg on Tuesday. Photo:DPA

Auschwitz defendant admits 'moral guilt'

Former SS officer Oskar Gröning, dubbed the "accountant of Auschwitz," asked for "forgiveness" over his role in mass murder at the Nazi death camp, as his trial began on Tuesday. READ  

Second World War still key to German identity
US army tanks roll into Cologne. Photo:DPA

Second World War still key to German identity

Seventy years after the end of the Second World War, Germans still feel that they deal with its legacy in everyday life, a survey published on Tuesday shows. READ  

Drugged teenager in high speed Munich chase
Photo: DPA

Drugged teenager in high speed Munich chase

Police in Munich reported on Monday that they had caught a 16-year-old who raced through the city at up to four times the speed limit, on drugs, in a car with stolen number plates – and without a valid driver's license. READ  

How NHS reform will cost Brit expats dear

How NHS reform will cost Brit expats dear

British people living in other European countries could find themselves forced to take out private health insurance due to a clampdown on expats using the country’s National Health Service (NHS).  READ  

Euro parliament leader warns of new shipwrecks
Refugees being picked up by a German freighter in January. Photo: DPA

Euro parliament leader warns of new shipwrecks

“If we don't act now, we'll experience more tragedies” like the one that killed 950 people off the Libyan coast last weekend, European Parliament president Martin Schulz warned on Tuesday. READ  

RECEIVE OUR NEWSLETTER AND ALERTS
Politics
A Greek learning politics in Germany
Features
The battle of the "Gates of Berlin"
National
Germany's favourite baby names of 2014
National
Germany's 'very poor' lobbying record
National
VIDEO: Mario Draghi suffers anti-ECB confetti attack
Politics
Merkel's 15 years at the top of German politics
Shutterstock
Sponsored Article
10 things you didn’t know about Zagreb (and why you should go)
Features
Spice up asparagus season with The Local's serving suggestions
Sponsored Article
What expat parents should ask before choosing a school
Travel
Lowest of the low: how woman exploited Germanwings crash
Sport
Football and the €30,000 firework
Technology
Why scientists oppose killer robots
National
Germanwings co-pilot 'searched suicide info'
Technology
Electrifying 'Ostalgia'
National
Which city is Germany's worst for drivers?
National
'Cannibal cop' gets 8 years
Can the 'nightmare' of a pilot downing a plane be prevented?
National
LIVE: Co-pilot suspected of crashing plane
Pupils mourn lost classmates
National
Freed after 25 years on death row
National
Cologne Cathedral returns from space
Features
Paddy's Day, Berlin style
Is your workload 'out of control'? You're not alone...
National
Why east Germans are happy to get it on on camera
National
What would you do with a 250-year-old pretzel?
Features
Just why is the German flag Schwarz, Rot, Gold?
Business & Money
Getting German workers and bosses thinking positive
National
Uplifting thoughts to get you through the last week of winter
National
Who wants the Olympics more - Hamburg or Berlin?
National
Last-minute drama of Germany's Eurovision 2015 entry
National
German photographer takes world's top prize
Features
Meet the woman getting Germans to drink more – and better – beer
Gallery
Get inspired for International Women's Day with German heroes
Green party proposes first-ever cannabis legalization plan
Gallery
In pictures: Germany's seven most livable cities
National
Singapore canes Germans for train graffiti
Politics
Surprise! Germans love feeling like they run the EU
Politics
Anger over plan to show women what men earn
Travel
Munich tram fans bicker over new bell
Features
Kafka: puzzling translators 100 years on
Business & Money
France or Germany: Which country really is the best country to work in?
Photo: Police
Rhineland
Student driver crashes tank into family garden.
Photo: DPA
Politics
There was a notable absence at the Anti-Semitism Commission
National
How Dresden bombing still divides Germany, 70 years on
Photo: DPA
Gallery
Take a cute break with this gallery of baby animals
Latest news from The Local in Austria

More news from Austria at thelocal.at

Latest news from The Local in Switzerland

More news from Switzerland at thelocal.ch

Latest news from The Local in Denmark

More news from Denmark at thelocal.dk

Latest news from The Local in Spain

More news from Spain at thelocal.es

Latest news from The Local in France

More news from France at thelocal.fr

Latest news from The Local in Italy

More news from Italy at thelocal.it

Latest news from The Local in Norway

More news from Norway at thelocal.no

Latest news from The Local in Sweden

More news from Sweden at thelocal.se

7,221
jobs available
Toytown Germany
Germany's English-speaking crowd