German airport strikes force hundreds of flight cancellations



Airport staff across northern Germany are set to strike on Monday, forcing the cancellations of hundreds of flights, with tens of thousands of passengers expected to be impacted.

Verdi, the regional trade union, called for staff to strike at airports in Berlin, Hamburg, Hanover and Bremen. At Berlin Brandenburg Airport, security staff are striking because of unsuccessful collective bargaining over pay for night and weekend shifts.

The collective action is the latest in a number of labor demonstrations across Europe this winter.

The strike at Berlin’s airport has forced 200 departing flights to be canceled, affecting 27,000 passengers, a notice on the city’s website said.

Hamburg Airport warned that “no regular departures will be possible” from 10 p.m. Sunday to 11 p.m. Monday. Arriving flights “will still be possible,” but they may be delayed or canceled, the airport said. At least 123 departing flights scheduled for Monday will be impacted, with an additional 121 arriving flights potentially delayed or canceled, the airport said. It noted that more than 30,000 passengers could be affected.

Flights were “heavily booked” for Saturday and Tuesday to make up for the canceled flights, the airport said.

Lufthansa said in an email that it was expecting “massive disruptions to flight operations and a significant number of flight cancellations” on Monday in Germany.

The airline was notifying customers, offering alternative flight paths and, when possible, rebooking them on trains, a Lufthansa spokesperson said, noting that the strike was over a dispute between the union and the airports, not with the airlines. Operations were expected to be back to normal as early as Tuesday, the spokesperson said.

Germany is not alone in being disrupted by strikes this winter. About a half-million workers — from teachers to bus drivers to airport staff — walked off the job in Britain last month during disputes over pay and working conditions. Britain, like many European nations, has been hit by rampant inflation and a surge in living costs since the war in Ukraine, which has contributed to increases in prices for food and fuel.

Britain grinds to a halt as a half-million workers go on strike

Thousands of French workers last week protested a plan by French President Emmanuel Macron to raise the retirement age from 62 to 64. The French Senate passed the measure Saturday evening.

French strikes, which interrupted flights, trains and public transit last week, are anticipated to resume Wednesday, when the bill is expected to be reviewed by lawmakers, Reuters reported.


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