Passengers face disruption as cleaning staff strike at German airports

Cleaning staff have downed their tools and gone on strike at several German airports.

Passengers face disruption as cleaning staff strike at German airports
Archive photo shows cleaning materials at Berlin Schönefeld airport. Photo: DPA

The action, which is being held due to a dispute over pay and working conditions, is taking place at Frankfurt, Berlin and Münster Osnabrück airports on Tuesday.

In Münster the strike action was due to last 24 hours.

At other airports, such as Munich, Düsseldorf, Stuttgart and Hanover, protests under the banner “uprising of the invisible” were planned.

Air traffic is expected to be hit by the action because planes will not be allowed to take off without being cleaned. However, it is not yet known the exact number of flights or number of passengers set to be affected.

By calling the strike, the IG Bauen-Agrar-Umwelt union, known as IG Bau, is aiming to increase the pressure  on employers in the collective bargaining conflict.

On Facebook the union posted to say there were delays at Frankfurt Airport.

READ ALSO: When are airline passengers in Germany entitled to flight compensation?

There were also protests by staff, including at Münster Osnabrück Airport, which are shown in the Facebook post below.

After six rounds of negotiations, the wage conflict in Germany's largest trade sector, which involves about 650,000 employees, has reached a deadlock. 

IG Bau is demanding a Christmas bonus and the payment of overtime bonuses for part-time employees, among other things.

Employers have so far rejected the calls.

Member comments

  1. The first picture in this article is labeled as “Archive photo shows cleaning materials at Berlin Schönefeld airport”, however that picture is actually from the unopened Berlin Brandenburg Airport.

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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.