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Monday,  March 4, 2024 10:19 PM 

Workers at major German airports to strike on Thursday, cancellations expected

Workers at major German airports to strike on Thursday, cancellations expected
Airport security workers are set to strike on Thursday (Feb. 1), promoting flight cancellations. Lufthansa will be the most impacted, according to Cirium. (Kevin Hackert/Unsplash)
Michael Pihach

Michael Pihach is an award-winning journalist with a keen interest in digital storytelling. In addition to PAX, Michael has also written for CBC Life, Ryerson University Magazine, IN Magazine, and Michael joins PAX after years of working at popular Canadian television shows, such as Steven and Chris, The Goods and The Marilyn Denis Show.

Air travellers passing through Germany on Thursday (Feb. 1) can expect some turbulence as airport security workers are set to take job action.

The one-day strike, called by union Ver.di, will impact Germany’s major airports as workers push back in a pay dispute.

The strike will affect Germany’s busiest airport, Frankfurt, as well as facilities in Hamburg, Bremen, Hannover, Berlin, Cologne, Duesseldorf, Leipzig, Dresden, Erfurt and Stuttgart.

Munich airport, Germany’s second-busiest, isn’t affected, according to the Associated Press.

The action is expected to cause widespread flight cancellations in Germany – with some airports already cancelling a whole day's schedule.

Lufthansa offers options

German carrier Lufthansa took to the social media platform X on Wednesday to update its customers, saying that guests who are booked on domestic flights to and from Frankfurt on Feb. 1 can exchange their flight coupon for a Deutsche Bahn (train) ticket free of charge.

The rail journey must start on the day of the issue and is valid for two days, the airline said.

“We very much regret the disruptions to your flight and any inconvenience caused. We are making great efforts to ensure that you can make your journey in spite of this,” Lufthansa wrote in a statement on its website.

Frankfurt airport. (Ilya Cher/Unsplash)

The airline is urging customers to rebook their flights here, via the airline’s app or through its service centre, either to a flight before or after Feb. 1

Customers are entitled to a free rebooking option on Lufthansa Group flights for the Jan. 30-Feb. 8 period, the company says.

Referencing some of the aforementioned airports, the airline is “strongly” recommending that guests do not show up for their flight on Feb. 1 “as there will be no access to the departure area.”

The most impacted airlines

According to Cirium's flight data, Lufthansa will be the most impacted carrier as it cancels 36 per cent of its departures from the affected airports.

Eurowings, Ryanair, Turkish Airlines, British Airways and KLM, in that order, are also impacted by the strike and cancelling select departures, Cirium says.

The number of cancellations varies between airports, it appears.

Hamburg Airport. (Unsplash/Mika Baumeister)

In a post on X, Hamburg Airport said that “all departures on Thursday will be cancelled. Passengers are asked to contact their airline."

Cologne's airport, however, hasn’t made an announcement (yet) about cancelling all of its flights.

Instead, the facility is asking passengers to check their flight status with their airline or tour operator.

Sticking points

Some 25,000 airport security workers are at the centre of the dispute, which hasn’t reached a settlement despite three rounds of talks.

Ver.di, which represents the workers, is seeking a raise of 2.80 euros per hour ($3.03) for all employees and calling for bonuses for overtime work to kick in from the first extra hour, according to the Associated Press.

“Warning strikes" are a common tactic in German pay disputes. Talks are set to resume on Feb. 6.

The issue adds to already-disrupted Germany as the Western European country on Monday (Jan. 30) ended a six-day train strike, an event that wreaked havoc on travel plans and strained supply chains.

It was the longest industrial action in the national railway’s history. 

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