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Travel turmoil expected as Berlin airport crews launch yet another strike

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Travel turmoil expected as Berlin airport crews launch yet another strike
Berlin's Tegel airport. Photo: DPA.
12:30 CET+01:00
Berlin's two airports will both be hits by strikes on Friday, as ground crews protest labour conditions. Delays and cancellations are expected.

The union Verdi on Thursday called for its 2,000 ground crew members to strike on Friday at both Tegel and Schönefeld airports. The strike is to start at 4am on Friday and end on Saturday at 5am.

The Berlin-Brandenburg Airport Association said that there would likely be disruption to flight schedules as a result, as well as cutbacks on flights. As of Thursday at about 2pm, Tegel airport reported at least 70 flights cancelled, including for Lufthansa, Germanwings, Brussels Airlines, British Airways and Iberia Express.

Schönefeld has only reported two cancellations so far.

The association also advised travellers to pay attention to their flight statuses as changes may occur.

The union has demanded a pay raise of one euro per hour for work contract terms of at least one year. Currently ground crew members earn on average €11 per hour.

The union has been negotiating with a group representing companies that provide ground transport services to airports. The employers' group on Tuesday offered a pay raise of 8 percent over the course of three years, but the union rejected this proposal.

“Unfortunately a strike is inevitable because the employers have still not delivered a suitable offer, and it seems that it's not currently possible to negotiate an agreement,” said Verdi negotiator Enrico Rümker.

The employers' group called the new strikes “irresponsible”, saying the action pushes finding a solution further into the distance.

“We have done everything within our power to avoid a strike,” said a spokesperson for the employers' group.

Verdi already held strikes last month at Berlin, Hamburg and Stuttgart airports amid an ongoing labour negotiation dispute. 

More than 100 flights were cancelled at the beginning of February during strikes, and dozens more were cancelled during another round of strikes that month.

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