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.
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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.