Eight German airports hit by security staff strike

A fresh strike involving security staff at eight German airports - including Berlin, Frankfurt and Stuttgart - will affect air travellers on Tuesday.

Long queues form at the security checkpoint at Hamburg Airport during strike action last week.
Long queues form at the security checkpoint at Hamburg Airport during strike action last week. Photo: picture alliance/dpa | Bodo Marks

Trade union Verdi announced on Monday that it was calling another all-day strike and urged its members to walk out on Tuesday.

Security staff at Frankfurt, Berlin, Bremen, Hamburg, Hanover, Stuttgart, Dusseldorf and Cologne-Bonn airports will be taking part in the industrial action, which is being held in a collective bargaining dispute about pay and conditions. 

It comes following two strikes last week that affected several German airports – and led to massive disruption.

Tens of thousands of air passengers were affected on both days – facing cancellations or severe delays. Two thirds of all departures were cancelled last Monday at Berlin airport.

READ ALSO: Passengers face more travel chaos in German airport security strikes

Strikes at some airports were also held at the end of February. 

Airports are expecting more chaos for travellers on Tuesday. Passengers have been urged to check in advance with their airline to see if their flight is cancelled. If it is going ahead they should allow extra time at the airport, bosses have urged. 

“We expect considerable restrictions in air traffic,” a spokesman for the operating company at Berlin’s BER airport said on Monday.

“The strike activities are expected to cause major disruptions and flight cancellations throughout the day,” a statement from Frankfurt airport operator Fraport said. 

The airport said passengers flying from Frankfurt “will not be able to pass through the legally required security checks and get to their flights” and strongly advised those affected to avoid coming to the airport. 

“We expect that transfer processes for connecting passengers in the transit area will still largely be possible,” Frankfurt airport added. “Nevertheless, also transfer passengers should expect disruptions and delays due to the strike.”

A spokeswoman from Stuttgart airport said: “We strongly advise travellers to check the flight status with the airline before going to the airport.”

The ‘warning strikes’ are part of a collective bargaining dispute between Verdi and the Federal Association of Aviation Security Companies (BDLS). The union is negotiating with the employers’ association on wage increases for 25,000 security staff nationwide, among other issues.

But so far, four rounds of negotiations have failed. Both sides plan to meet again for talks this Thursday.  

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German nursery schools go on strike in wage dispute

Nursery and all-day school workers across Germany have been called on strike in an escalating dispute over pay and conditions.

German nursery schools go on strike in wage dispute

Berlin-based trade union Verdi called on employees in nurseries and all-day schools to go on warning strikes all day on Wednesday in a move to gain bargaining power for higher pay. 

North Rhine-Westphalia, Lower Saxony, Baden-Wuerttemberg, Bavaria, Saarland, Rhineland-Palatinate and Hamburg are believed to be the main states affected, with some areas relying on skeleton staff to keep services running. 

All-day schools (Ganztagsschulen) are also affected by the walkouts. 

As part of a round of strike actions in the education and social care sector, social workers staged a walkout on Monday.

Kindergarten teachers, nursery school workers, social assistants and other occupational groups from day-care centres and all-day schools followed suit on Wednesday, while carers for the disabled were expected to go on strike from Thursday. 

READ ALSO: Operations likely to be cancelled as German hospital doctors strike

Demand for better pay

The background to the so-called ‘warning strikes’, which have been taking place regularly for several weeks now, is the ongoing negotiations over pay and conditions in the education and social service sector. 

Verdi and the civil servants’ association DBB are demanding more money and more attractive conditions for around 330,000 workers in these sectors. 

In a previous strike called in March, the union pointed out that social workers are paid around €280 less per month than engineers, despite having the same level of education. 

They also complained of an urgent understaffing issue in the sector that they argued were placing employees under extreme pressure, especially in the aftermath of the Covid pandemic. 

The employers’ side has criticised the warning strikes as disproportionate and claimed that the two sides are in constructive negotiations, with the next round due to take place on May 16th in Potsdam.

On Tuesday, Verdi leader Frank Werneke announced that there would be longer strikes if the next round of negotiations failed to lead to a breakthrough.

“At the moment we are striking for days at a time in the hope that the employers will finally move,” Werneke told Welt.

“If there is no movement at the third negotiation, we will extend the strikes.”

READ ALSO: Jobs in Germany: Should foreign workers join a union?