German airport staff to strike

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Significant flight disruptions are likely in Germany on 27 March after service-sector union Verdi called for industrial action by airport staff.

Employees of the airports in Cologne-Bonn, Dusseldorf, Frankfurt, Hamburg, Hannover, Munich and Stuttgart are planning to walk out until 14:00. The warning strike follows wider industrial action by German service-sector workers over recent weeks.

Lufthansa has cancelled nearly all domestic and European flights at its Frankfurt and Munich hubs, but also expects disruptions to long-haul services.

Flights by its low-cost arm Germanwings and regional divisions in Munich are due to operate on schedule, although there could be delays, Lufthansa says.

Hamburg airport expects disruptions only for domestic flights as the majority of its ground operational staff and security personnel are employed on contracts that are not part of the pay discussions with Verdi, the airport says.

As Lufthansa is not part of the negotiations either, the strike “once again demonstrates the powerlessness of the German legal system to shield non-involved parties from the effects of pay disputes”, says the airline’s chief officer corporate for human resources and legal affairs, Bettina Volkens.

Verdi chief Frank Bsirske says that “employees in the public sector provide good, important and reliable work that is essential for communal life and the functioning of society”.