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German airport passengers face disruption due to security staff strikes

Security staff at six German airports went on strike Monday, resulting in flight cancellations and delays.

Screens at Düsseldorf airport show warnings about disruption due to strike action on Monday.
Screens at Düsseldorf airport show warnings about disruption due to strike action on Monday. Photo: picture alliance/dpa | Federico Gambarini

Trade union Verdi called on security staff in passenger control at German airports to walk out on a day-long strike on Monday.

At Cologne-Bonn airport union members stopped work shortly after midnight, a Verdi spokesperson said. 

Since the early hours of the morning, security staff at Düsseldorf, Berlin, Bremen, Hanover and Leipzig airports have also been on strike, according to the union. The union expects about 1,350 workers nationwide to take part in the walk-out.

Passengers at the affected airports have been warned to expect considerable disruption. 

They have been urged to find out if their flights are delayed or cancelled – and to plan more time for their journey if it is going ahead.

At Cologne-Bonn airport, more than half of scheduled flights were cancelled on Monday, and similar numbers are expected at Düsseldorf.

Numerous flights were also cancelled at the Berlin’s BER airport on Monday morning. The airport association ADV expects dozens of cancelled flights nationwide.

READ ALSO: Should I join a union in Germany?

What are the strikes about?

The so-called ‘warning strikes’ are part of the collective bargaining row between Verdi and the Federal Association of Aviation Security Companies (BDLS).

The union is negotiating with the employers’ association on a new collective agreement for about 25,000 security staff nationwide. Three rounds of negotiations have so far failed to produce a result. Both sides plan to meet in Berlin on March 16th and 17th for further talks.

At the end of February, there had been strikes at some airports after two rounds of negotiations failed.

And at the beginning of March, the two sides remained unable to reach an agreement in a third round of talks.

Verdi describes the employers’ offer as “insufficient”. As part of its demands, the union wants to see hourly wages rise by at least one euro.

The union also wants to see salaries of baggage checkers reach the level of employees in passenger control, and to see employees in aircraft security and boarding pass control being paid the same wage throughout Germany.

The ADV said the strike action was “not proportionate”.

“We appeal to the collective bargaining partners to seek an agreement on the disputed points at the negotiating table,” said ADV CEO Ralph Beisel.

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TRAVEL NEWS

Germany considers ‘Klimaticket’ to replace €9 public transport offer

Germany could well be heading for more affordable public transport after the success of the €9 ticket.

Germany considers 'Klimaticket' to replace €9 public transport offer

More than 20 million people bought the €9 monthly travel ticket in June aimed at helping people during the energy crisis. 

And now the German government is thinking about introducing a ‘climate ticket’ as a replacement to the cheap transport offer that runs until the end of August. 

According to a draft of the emergency climate protection programme (Klimaschutzsofortprogramm), the government – made up of a coalition between the Social Democrats (SPD), Greens and the Free Democrats (FDP), could offer a “Klimaticket” for use on local public transport. 

The draft plans, which were made available to business daily the Handelsblatt, state that “tariff measures are to be used to permanently increase the attractiveness of local public transport”.

According to the government proposals, “a discounted ‘climate ticket’ as a standardised state local transport monthly or annual ticket for regional rail passenger transport and local public transport” would ensure low-cost rail travel in the future.

Germany’s states are responsible for local public transport. However, the federal government is prepared to “financially support” a “climate ticket”. Details are still being examined, however. For instance, the draft does not indicate how much a ‘climate ticket’ could cost consumers.

A similar ticket exists in Austria.

READ ALSO: Less traffic, more ticket sales: How the €9 offer has impacted Germany

Social rights groups and politicians have been calling on the government to extend the €9 offer, or consider another cheap transport deal, such as the €365 yearly ticket.

Since June 1st, people in Germany have been able to use the €9 ticket to travel on all public transport buses, trains and trams throughout the country. The ticket is not valid on long-distance trains. 

But Transport Minister Volker Wissing and Finance Minister Christian Lindner said that the offer would not be extended due to the tough economic situation. 

According to German media, the Federal Environment Agency is in favour of a successor model after the €9 ticket expires, which could be financed by abolishing climate-damaging subsidies in the transport sector.

Germany is trying to think of ways to reduce CO2 emissions by 2030 in order to achieve climate goals. 

All ministries have to submit proposals to Economy and Climate Minister Robert Habeck (Greens). The federal cabinet is expected to approve the climate protection programme in mid-July.

How does the ticket work in Austria?

The Klimaticket in Austria is billed as being a “valuable contribution to the climate of our planet”, according to its website.

It allows people to “use all scheduled services (public and private rail, city and public transport) in a specific area for a year: regional, cross-regional and nationwide”.

The national ticket – the Klimaticket Ö – includes all public transport throughout the whole of Austria, but at €1,095 for a year, it isn’t cheap. However, it is valid on both regional and long-distance transport. 

There are also region-specific Klimatickets which are much more affordable. The Salzburg ticket, for example, costs around €270 per year

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