Flights scrapped as security staff strike at Berlin’s airports

Hundreds of airline passengers were faced with disruption, including cancellations and delays, Monday morning after security staff at Berlin's two airports walked out in a pay dispute.

Flights scrapped as security staff strike at Berlin's airports
A passenger lies on a bench at Tegel airport during the strike Monday. Photo: DPA

The action, called by the powerful Verdi union at the German capital's Tegel and Schönefeld airports, started at 5am and ended shortly before 9am.

Around 80 flights were affected, according to DPA news agency, mostly at the city's main Tegel airport.

SEE ALSO: German airport security employees could soon strike over wage, training demands

According to the arrival and departure boards of both airports, there were some delays lasting several hours as well as cancellations. In both airports around 400 security workers had gone on strike, the trade unionist said.

Tegel information board shows cancellations. Photo: DPA

German flagship carrier Lufthansa said it was cancelling four flights on its Berlin-Frankfurt route and four more between Berlin and Munich.

The roughly 850 passengers booked on those flights could use their tickets to travel by train instead, Lufthansa added.

“We regret that our passengers have to start the new year with disruptions,” Lufthansa board member Detlef Kayser told DPA.

During the early morning industrial action, union members picketed outside security control at Schönefeld airport, wearing yellow vests, with some carrying Verdi flags.

Union members picket at Schönefeld airport on Monday. Photo: DPA

The so-called warning strike comes after Verdi, which represents some 23,000 airport security workers nationwide, said talks with the BDLS employers' association were deadlocked.

The union wants to see wages raised to €20 per hour for workers carrying out passenger, freight, personnel and goods checks at German airports.

Rates vary across the country but staff working in passenger security at Tegel and Schönefeld currently earn an hourly rate of €17.12.

The employers' association has offered wage increases of between 2.0 and 8.1 percent annually.

The union hasn't ruled out further strikes which could affect any airport in Germany. The next round of talks is scheduled for January 23rd.

 “We now hope that the signals will be understood by the employers,” Verdi spokesman told DPA.

Member comments

  1. E17.12 per houris a pretty good wage. Unions are necessary when employers take advantage of their employees and refuse to pay a living wage or provide benefits. However, it seems that Unions will always begin seeking for power and control and that is when trouble begins. Unions destroyed the American auto industry. Unions and their unfair demands have also greatly damaged public education in America. Maybe the workers should rein in the Unions’ power.

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Strikes hit Amazon in Germany in the run up to Christmas

Around 2,500 Amazon employees at seven sites across Germany were on strike on Tuesday and unions warned stoppages could continue up to Christmas.

Amazon parcel in factory
A parcel rolls along a conveyor belt at an Amazon packing facility in Gera, Thuringia. Photo: picture alliance/dpa/dpa-Zentralbild | Bodo Schackow

The strikes at so-called “fulfilment” centres, where Amazon prepares packages before delivery, began in two locations on Monday.

The Verdi union is calling on Amazon for an “immediate” salary increase of three percent this year, followed by a further 1.7 percent next year, in line with a collective agreement for the retail sector, to which the e-commerce giant does not adhere.

Amazon could not continue to “refuse wage increases that other companies in the sector pay”, Verdi retail head Orhan Akman said in a statement Monday.

Amazon, which operates 17 centres in Germany, argues it is a logistics company, a sector in which the terms of work are considered to be less burdensome for the employer.

Amazon said it did not expect the strike to have an impact on clients.

However, a Verdi spokesman said the stoppage could cause disruption, particularly in Amazon’s rapid-delivery “Prime” offering.

Strikes were likely to continue “until the end of the year”, the spokesman said, impacting on the busy Christmas shopping period.


Verdi, which first called for strikes at Amazon in May 2013, organised demonstrations outside the fulfilment centres on Tuesday to protest poor working conditions.

Amazon — which has seen its business boom during the coronavirus pandemic as consumers increasingly shopped online — announced in September that it would open eight new centres in Germany, creating 3,000 jobs by 2022.