Passenger misery in Germany as Berlin airport staff strike



Airline passengers have been told to expect flight disruption in Germany after security staff staged a one day strike at Berlin International Airport. The industrial action has seen all departures from the capital cancelled across Monday, with arrivals also impacted.

A spokesperson for the airport said some 240 flights had been scheduled to take off on Monday but were subsequently cancelled. Passengers are being told to contact their airline for information about rescheduling their flight.

Passengers at Germany's second biggest city, Hamburg, have also been hit, after employees from the private Aviation Handling Services Hamburg (AHS), who handle check-in, boarding and lost and found for a number of airlines including Lufthansa, called a 24-hour strike at short notice.

AHS was due to handle 84 of Monday's 160 departures, and 31 had already been cancelled by 9 a.m local time.

Germany's two busiest airports, Frankfurt and Munich, have not been directly impacted by Monday's strike, however it's expected there could be knock on effects for German airline Lufthansa due to the departure cancellations at both Hamburg and Berlin.

Ongoing disruption

Europe's biggest economy has seen several major strikes interrupt transport services in recent months, as unions demand pay rises in response to record inflation.

Last week, Dusseldorf, Hamburg, Cologne-Bonn and Stuttgart airports were hit by strikes. Train services were also brought to a halt Friday when staff at the state-backed Deutsche Bahn walked off the job in a half day strike.

"The unions decided to go on a warning strike again and we keep asking each other "what is this about now?" said Martin Seiler, DB's Chief Human Resources Officer.

"These strike(s) are totally unnecessary. Hundreds of thousands of people are going to be affected. We are ready to find a solution, we want to find a solution," he added.

The EVG union, which is negotiating on behalf of 230,000 workers, is seeking a 12 percent wage increase, or at least an additional 650 euros ($715) per month. Deutsche Bahn has offered 5 percent and one-off payments of up to 2,500 euros ($2,751).

Passengers told to expect more disruption

Unions across multiple sectors have warned further strikes can be expected unless management and rail and air travel firms negotiate better pay deals for their members.

Ralph Beisel, chief executive of the airport association ADV, said unions were taking their right to carry out warning strikes prior to arbitration to absurd lengths.