Baggage handlers, aircraft cleaners and bus drivers in the airport service downed their tools at 12.30pm. The strike was set to last until midnight.
The airport reacted with sharp criticism. “We consider the renewed strike irresponsible,” said a spokeswoman, pointing out that Thursday is a popular travel day and that around 30,000 passengers will be affected.
During the strike period, 114 departures and 137 arrivals are scheduled.
At least 48 departures and arrivals will be cancelled, a spokeswoman told the Hamburger Abendsblatt on Thursday morning. The airport confirmed this around noon in a tweet.
Strike update: Due to the strike of the Ground Handling staff at Hamburg Airport, the airlines have already cancelled 48 of 251 flights for today. Further cancellations and delays cannot be excluded. Please allow for enough time and if possible fly with hand luggage only. pic.twitter.com/cxqBDr1304
— Hamburg Airport (@HamburgAirport) March 14, 2019
These include connections to Munich and Mallorca.
“It affects both business travellers and families,” the spokeswoman added.
The wage dispute concerns about 1000 employees in the ground handling services. The union Verdi is calling for a minimum wage of €12, or an increase of €1.24 per hour for the lowest paid group.
On February 4th, an all-day warning strike had largely paralyzed the airport. Earlier in January, airport strikes around Germany, also organized by Verdi for higher pay, led to 640 flights being slashed.
It comes during a wave of strike action across Germany, caused by separate disputes, and indicating the strength of the unions. On Thursday a strike – also organized by Verdi – by bus drivers in the capital Berlin was taking place.