Work strike at German airports Duesseldorf, Cologne-Bonn, Stuttgart puts halt to 600 flights

VIDEO: REUTERS
Members of the United Services Trade Union take part in a strike at Duesseldorf International Airport on Jan 10, 2019.
Members of the United Services Trade Union take part in a strike at Duesseldorf International Airport on Jan 10, 2019.PHOTO: EPA-EFE

FRANKFURT AM MAIN (AFP) - Almost 640 flights were cancelled in Germany on Thursday (Jan 10) as security staff went on strike at three airports, meaning disruption for around 100,000 passengers.

The number of flights blocked was more than half the 1,050 planned for Duesseldorf, Cologne-Bonn and Stuttgart.

Duesseldorf - the country's third-largest airport - said in a statement that 370 of Thursday's 580 planned departures had to be cancelled.

News agency DPA reported that the walkout, slated to last from 3am (0200 GMT) to midnight (1100 GMT), was expected to affect around 100,000 travellers.

At Cologne-Bonn, where 131 of almost 200 flights were cancelled, union Verdi told DPA the security strike was also slowing freight handling.

The knock-on effects of the walkout also triggered flight cancellations at Munich airport, which is already grappling with disruptions caused by inclement weather.

Representing 23,000 airport security staff across Germany, Verdi is demanding a pay increase to €20 (S$31) per hour from the present rate of €17, or almost 18 per cent.

Employers' association BDLS meanwhile is offering increases of between 2 per cent and 8 per cent.

Passengers' first taste of the pay dispute came on Monday, when Berlin's two airports Tegel and Schoenefeld suffered "warning strikes" with around 50 departures cancelled.

The next round of Verdi and BDLS negotiations will take place on Jan 23.