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STRIKES

Reader question: Will German airports see more strikes at Easter?

Security staff at several of Germany's airports have staged a number of walkouts amid a dispute over pay and conditions with their employer. Will trade union Verdi call more strikes?

Departure board shows several flights cancelled at Hamburg airport on Tuesday.
Departure board shows several flights cancelled at Hamburg airport on Tuesday March 22nd. Photo: picture alliance/dpa | Daniel Bockwoldt

Several full days of strike action have been held in the last weeks, effectively bringing air travel in some parts of Germany – including Frankfurt, Hamburg and Berlin – to a standstill.

The strikes grounded hundreds of flights on each day of action, affecting tens of thousands of travellers. 

Some readers have reached out to us to ask if more strikes are planned, particularly around Easter in mid-April when many people are planning trips or are welcoming visitors.

READ ALSO: Eight German airports hit by security staff strikes

We approached trade union Verdi, which represents the affected workers, last week and a spokesman told us that talks were ongoing and he could not say if more strikes were planned.

But there’s good news: on Monday this week, Verdi said that a collective agreement between airport security staff and employers had been reached. 

It means that the threat of more strikes has been averted.

The news will come as a big relief to people who are planning to travel in or out of Germany in the coming weeks. 

The breakthrough came in the sixth round of negotiations, after talks broke down again on Friday.

The Federal Association of Aviation Security Companies (BDLS) confirmed the agreement on Monday. 

Three-stage pay rise

The union Verdi has been negotiating with the employers’ association on wage increases for 25,000 security staff nationwide, among other issues.

According to Verdi, a three-step wage increase was agreed for a period of 24 months, with different amounts for the individual wage groups.

Verdi said the pay increase for the current year will be between 4.4 and 7.8 percent. The further steps depend on the wage group and the region, among other points. The adjustment of wages between east and west is to be completed by January 1st, 2024.

“The employers have finally presented an acceptable offer,” Verdi negotiator Wolfgang Pieper said on Monday.

“This collective agreement succeeds in making wage conditions in the aviation security industry and work more attractive despite unfavourable working hours and numerous operational problems.”

BDLS negotiator Rainer Friebertshäuser said wage increases in some cases would be up to 28.2 percent.

But Friebertshäuser said the agreed package “means massive cost increases for the employers, which are a particular burden in the current economic situation of the sector and hurt a lot”.

Verdi had originally demanded an increase of at least one euro in the hourly wage for the approximately 25,000 employees over a period of only twelve months. In addition, there were to be nationwide adjustments at the highest regional level from Baden-Württemberg as well as standardised wage groups. The employers had recently proposed increases in four stages over a longer period.

“The large participation in the warning strikes in recent weeks has strengthened us in the negotiations and made it clear to the employers that they had to take a real step towards the workers (in negotiations),” said Verdi.

Germany has a strong trade union tradition and strikes can often be called during collective agreement negotiations across industries. 

READ ALSO: Should I join a union in Germany?

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READER INSIGHTS

‘Fantastic’: Your verdict on Germany’s €9 transport ticket

Germany is set to bring in a heavily reduced public transport ticket for three months this summer. Here's what our readers think about it.

'Fantastic': Your verdict on Germany's €9 transport ticket

We released a survey asking how many of you would use the €9 monthly ticket, being brought in by the German government for the months of June, July and August. The ticket will be valid on all local and regional transport across Germany – but not on long-distance services.

Respondents came from all over the country in almost all of Germany’s 16 states. 

And nearly all of our readers – 95.4 percent – said they planned to get the ticket. 

Just 1.1 percent of respondents said they would not use the offer, while 3.4 percent answered ‘maybe’.

Source: The Local

We also asked how many of you already have a subscription ticket with your local transport provider. Just over half – 52.6 percent – said they don’t have an Abo, while 34.9 percent are already subscribers.  

People with a subscription receive the discount as part of the €9 ticket offer. 

READ ALSO: How many people will use the €9 ticket?

Source: The Local

The ticket is part of the German government’s energy relief package aimed at easing the financial burden on people. Politicians also see it as a trial for the future as the country tries to move towards climate-friendly policies. 

READ ALSO: When will Germany’s fuel tax cut come into force?

When we asked whether you think reduced price public transport this summer is a good idea, the vast majority of respondents – 86.9 percent – said ‘yes’. Just over 7.4 percent said they weren’t sure if it was a good idea, and just 1.1 percent said it wasn’t a good policy. 

Source: The Local

A snap poll on our Twitter page earlier this week also found that most people – 86.5 percent – planned to use the ticket. 

‘Why would anyone not use it?’

We also asked readers to share their views on what they thought about the ticket.

On The Local Germany’s Facebook page, Scott Widenhouse said it was “absolutely” a good idea. “A day pass from Munich airport is €13 approx, (in) Berlin – one ride is €3.”

Kat Thomas said: “I am so excited to get one for me and each of my kids. We rely super heavily on public transportation. This will be fantastic!”

READ ALSO: How to get a hold of the €9 ticket in Berlin

Sue Guinane said: “Why would anyone not use it? It is cheaper than two regular daily tickets in Munich, so great savings.”

Others were not completely on board.

Of the comments on our survey, one respondent suggested that the ticket should be pricier in order to make it more sustainable. Another reader said it was going to be a “disaster” because travel providers would likely hike up prices after three months. 

On Facebook, Annmarie Wagner Schultz said: “It doesn’t help my son who uses the train and his bike to get to work.”

Tina Wetzel said she didn’t want to take advantage of the offer because transport will be “overcrowded”, and in the summer months, passengers will also have to deal with no air conditioning on trains and buses. 

 

“My nose prefers not to smell any of that,” she said on Facebook.

Others said it might come in handy.

Jeffrey Carson, in Neukirchen in Hesse, said: “Sounds a good idea but I use my car for local journeys and the new ticket does not include long distance trains which are the only trains I use. I suppose if I visit Munich it will be good to get the €9 ticket for day trips from there.”

READ ALSO: How to explore Germany by train with the €9 ticket

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