Two days of strikes by aviation security staff at six German airports have led to a total of 662 cancelled flights affecting some 100,000 passengers, the ADV airport association said on Friday.

Passengers at the Hanover, Dortmund, Dresden, Leipzig, Karlsruhe/Baden-Baden airports and Weeze airport in western Germany were affected after trade union verdi called for strikes by aviation security staff.

The first employees went on strike in Hanover late on Thursday. Verdi is trying to increase pressure on the employers ahead of the next round of negotiations on 20 March.

Unions are currently hitting air traffic with a wave of industrial action, leading to sometimes more, sometimes fewer restrictions for passengers. Lufthansa is being hit particularly hard.

Strikes by security staff at five other German airports brought operations to a virtual standstill on Thursday. Airports in Berlin, Hamburg, Stuttgart, Karlsruhe/Baden-Baden and Cologne/Bonn were affected on Thursday.

All departures were cancelled at the airports because passengers and goods could no longer pass through security checks. There were also numerous cancellations of landings.

According to ADV estimates, more than 580 flights were cancelled on Thursday.

The collective bargaining in aviation security concerns the working conditions of around 25,000 employees of private security service providers, who check passengers, staff and baggage at the entrances to the security area on behalf of Germany’s Federal Police.

Five rounds of negotiations have so far failed to produce a result. Verdi is demanding an hourly wage increase of €2.80 ($3.05), phased in over a period of 12 months, with overtime bonuses starting more quickly from the first hour of overtime.

Verdi and Lufthansa are seeking arbitration proceedings as quickly as possible.

Verdi negotiator Marvin Reschinsky believes an agreement in the targeted arbitration by March 30 at the latest is “very realistic.”

“I think both sides want to avoid a strike at Easter,” Reschinsky added. A moratorium on industrial action would apply during the mediation.

According to the Association of Aviation Security Companies (BDLS), employers have offered €2.70 more per hour in three stages, which would increase monthly wages by €432 to €470. The collective agreement is to run for 24 months.

A sixth round of negotiations with verdi has been arranged for March 20.

Employers criticized the extent of the current labour disputes in aviation as “inappropriate” and pointed to economic damage going into the millions.

“A cancelled flight remains a lost flight,” Matthias von Randow, head of the Federal Association of the German Aviation Industry, said on Friday.

Unions were actually harming the finances of the companies and their employees, von Randow added.

A few travelers walk past closed check-in counters in Dortmund's airport during a strike by security staff. The trade union Verdi has called for further warning strikes by aviation security staff at several German airports. Bernd Thissen/dpa

A few travelers walk past closed check-in counters in Dortmund’s airport during a strike by security staff. The trade union Verdi has called for further warning strikes by aviation security staff at several German airports. Bernd Thissen/dpa

The check-in counters in the departure hall in Dortmund's airport are seen closed during a strike by security staff. The trade union Verdi has called for further warning strikes by aviation security staff at several German airports. Bernd Thissen/dpa

The check-in counters in the departure hall in Dortmund’s airport are seen closed during a strike by security staff. The trade union Verdi has called for further warning strikes by aviation security staff at several German airports. Bernd Thissen/dpa



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