Almost 300000 passengers strike at German airport

Almost 300,000 passengers strike at German airport

BERLIN, Feb 17 (Portal) – A 24-hour strike at seven German airports, including Frankfurt and Munich, was expected to affect nearly 300,000 passengers on Friday as unionized workers pushed for higher wages and threatened a summer of “chaos” if their demands were not met.

The strike coincided with the start of the Munich Security Conference, at which more than 40 heads of state and 60 ministers were expected.

In an early sign of the disruption, Romania’s foreign minister, unable to board a canceled flight, will be forced to fly to Austria and then make the more than four-hour drive to Munich, a Romanian embassy official said.

It’s the latest in a series of strikes and protests that have hit major European economies, including France, Britain and Spain, as higher food and energy prices squeezed incomes and living standards in the wake of the pandemic and war in Ukraine.

According to the airport association ADV, around 295,000 passengers are affected by the cancellation of around 2,340 flights at the airports in Bremen, Dortmund, Frankfurt, Hamburg, Hanover, Munich and Stuttgart.

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“We really haven’t experienced such an escalation through strikes,” said Ralph Beisel from ADV to Bayerischer Rundfunk. “Looking at the airport terminals this morning reminds us more of the worst days of the coronavirus and less of a warning strike.”

Germany’s Verdi union announced the strike on Wednesday after saying collective bargaining efforts for ground staff, public sector officials and aviation security workers had made little headway.

The union has been pushing for a wage increase of 10.5% or at least €500 a month.

“If nothing is done about the payment now, we are all in for another chaotic summer,” Verdi Deputy Chairwoman Christine Behle told Inforadio on Friday. “It’s about sending a really strong signal.”

Among the airlines affected, Lufthansa (LHAG.DE) had to cancel more than 1,300 flights on Friday and cease operations at the Frankfurt and Munich hubs.

The airline declined to give an estimate of the cost of the strike but has said on previous occasions that such an action would cost them €10-15 million a day.

Verdi boss Frank Werneke told the Frankfurter Allgemeine Sunday newspaper that the strikes could spread to hospitals and garbage collection.

($1 = 0.9394 euros)

Reporting by Klaus Lauer and Lisa Jucca; writing by Miranda Murray and Matthias Williams; Edited by Jason Neely and Sharon Singleton

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