Germany's largest airport braces for ‘massive’ strike disruption next week

FRENCH PRESS AGENCY - AFP
FRANKFURT
Published 11.01.2019 16:44
In this Sunday, Feb. 4, 2018, file photo a Lufthansa aircraft prepares to land at the International Airport in Frankfurt, Germany. (AP Photo)
In this Sunday, Feb. 4, 2018, file photo a Lufthansa aircraft prepares to land at the International Airport in Frankfurt, Germany. (AP Photo)

Air travellers face "massive" upheaval on Tuesday when security staff at Germany's Frankfurt Airport, the nation's largest, are set to walk off the job in a battle for better pay that has already caused hundreds of flight cancellations.

Germany's powerful Verdi union announced on Friday that the strike would start at 2:00 a.m. (0100 GMT) and end at 8:00 p.m. (1900 GMT).

It marks another escalation in their standoff with employers after walkouts by security personnel at airports in Berlin, Cologne-Bonn, Duesseldorf and Stuttgart this week led to more than 800 flights being scrapped, affecting over 100,000 passengers.

The scale of Tuesday's strike was not immediately clear but a spokesman for airport operator Fraport warned it would have "a massive impact on tens on thousands of travellers".

Fraport urged all passengers with flights scheduled to depart from Frankfurt during the strike action not to come to the airport and check with their airlines or travel providers for further information.

Verdi meanwhile warned that more airports could join Tuesday's "warning strike."

The union, which represents some 23,000 aviation security workers across Germany, is pushing for a pay increase to 20 euros ($23.08) per hour.

Wages currently vary, with workers in some airports in eastern Germany earning around 14 euros hourly, compared with just over 17 euros for their peers in the capital and western parts of the country.

Employers' association BDLS meanwhile is offering increases of between two and 6.4 percent.

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

Serving nearly 65 million passengers annually, Frankfurt Airport is the fourth busiest in Europe and 14th in the world.

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