Strike by airport security staff halts hundreds of flights across Germany

Once again, a protest strike by security staff has brought flight operations in Germany to a virtual standstill. At eight airports—Berlin, Frankfurt, Hamburg, Bremen, Hanover, Stuttgart, Cologne/Bonn, and Düsseldorf—there was almost 100 percent support for Tuesday’s strike by security personnel. Passengers could only disembark at these airports and could not take off. Several hundred flights had to be cancelled.

Warning strike at Terminal 1, Frankfurt Rhein-Main Airport (Credit: WSWS)

The employers’ association, the Federal Association of Aviation Security Companies (BDLS), rigorously refuses to negotiate seriously on the workers’ demands. It firmly rejects even the very limited demand to increase the hourly wage of security staff by one euro and to equalize wages nationwide. Talks are to continue next Thursday in Raunheim, Hesse.

Many workers are angry, forcing service sector union Verdi to call an almost nationwide, all-day protest strike. The turnout made it clear the strength and power airport security staff wield.

At the largest hub in Frankfurt, there was only emergency service. According to the operator Fraport, 108 of 790 planned flights were canceled by noon. Severe restrictions were also reported from Berlin and Hamburg. Hamburg airport reported that all 88 planned departures had to be cancelled. At Berlin-Brandenburg airport, according to a spokeswoman, about 100 of 150 planned departures were cancelled, and of the 150 or so arrivals, about 50 were cancelled.

At Düsseldorf Airport, 140 out of 260 departures and arrivals were cancelled, at Cologne Bonn Airport 50 of 60 take-offs could not take place, and in Stuttgart, 40 of 50 departures were cancelled.

The German Air Transport Association angrily called the strike disproportionate.

However, despite the security workers’ willingness to fight and the enormous solidarity among other airport staff, Verdi is working towards a rotten compromise. The employers’ association’s negotiators know the union well since they used to be Verdi and German Confederation of Trade Unions (DGB) officials themselves.

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