Germany airport employees will walk out tomorrow as they demand higher wages in a strike that will affect thousands of holidaymakers. Lufthansa, the largest German airline, has revealed it is cancelling at least 414 flights. Eight German airports will be hit by the industrial action, including Lufthansa’s hubs in Frankfurt and Munich. Airport security workers at Frankfurt, Munich, Hamburg, Hanover, Bremen, Dresden, Leipzig/Halle and Erfurt intend to walk out tomorrow from 2am to 8pm.
Today, Frankfurt airport operator Fraport announced that airlines already cancelled about 470 flights tomorrow. This means every third flight will be axed.
According to the airport association ADV, at least 220,000 passengers will be hit by the planned action, reported German press agency DPA.
Last week one 100,000 passengers were disrupted by the cancellation of 800 flights after security personnel at airports in Berlin, Cologne-Bonn, Düsseldorf and Stuttgart walked out.
German trade union Ver.di has warned of “very severe restrictions” in air traffic on Tuesday.
Trade unions are fighting to improve the wages and working conditions of 23,000 aviation security employees.
“Because employers have shown no willingness to make a better offer, the extension of warning strikes has become necessary,” Ver.di board member Ute Kittel said in a statement on Monday.
She added that employees were disappointed with the attitude of their employers and they did not value the difficulty and responsibility of their job.
The union is demanding an hourly wage of €20 but the increase employers are currently offering is just 40 cents.
Wages vary nationwide but, according to The Local, workers in some airports in eastern Germany earn around €14 per hour, compared with just over €17 for their peers in the capital and western parts of the country. The next round of negotiations is due to take place on 23 January.
Travellers are advised to not go to the airport during the strike. According to a spokesman for Fraport, passengers should ask airlines about rebooking or other alternatives, reported DPA.
Those simply stopping over in Frankfurt before flying elsewhere (roughly 60 per cent of passengers) will not be affected if they remain in the departure lounge area.
So what should you do if your flight is cancelled? “If your flight is delayed or cancelled, head over to the airline’s counter and make sure to ask them for a leaflet with all the relevant information,” Michael Reay at travel search platform HolidayPirates said.
“Every airline in Europe is obliged to provide you with all the relevant information regarding cancellations and delays.
He added: “It is also worth remembering or writing down the names of the people you speak to, as that will help you in case of conflict and in terms of getting compensation.”
However, make sure you’re not wasting time and avoid queuing if you can. Being proactive at this early stage is vital – take action instead of waiting around.
“If it’s after 8pm and there are ongoing cancellations due to bad weather or a system failure and you are unlikely to be booked onto another flight, use your smartphone to look for a hotel room,” said Michael.