A strike by employees at aviation security controls has resulted in all departing flights from Berlin Brandenburg Airport (BER) being canceled on March 13, 2023.
According to the airport, a warning strike by workers at security controls has resulted in no flights departing BER, with arrivals being affected as well. “Passengers are asked to check with their airline regarding their flight status,” read the airport’s announcement.
The striking employees are part of Vereinte Dienstleistungsgewerkschaft (ver.di, United Services Union), a Germany-based union operating in many cities and states across the country. According to the union, it “has been in negotiations with the Bundesverband der Luftsicherheitsunternehmen (Federal Association of Aviation Security Companies, BDLS) for years to increase the time surcharges for night, Saturday, Sunday and public holiday work as well as a better collective bargaining agreement for overtime pay for security and service staff at commercial airports.”
Despite multiple attempts to negotiate with BLDS, the employer has yet to present ver.di’s employees with an offer.
“Guaranteeing the safety of passengers is a demanding job that has to be done around the clock, every day of the week, including Sundays, public holidays and nights, and requires a lot of flexibility. 24/7 shift work has a negative impact on the lives of families and friends,” stated Wolfgang Pieper, a representative of the union.
In response, the BDLS’ General Manager of the Working Group of German Commercial Airports (Flughafenverband ADV) Ralph Beisel stated that ver.di has repeatedly misused airports “in the collective bargaining dispute of the public service as a public platform for enforcing their demands, even though the airports have less than two percent of the workforce”.
Per BDLS estimates, the strikes, which will also cover Hamburg Airport (HAM), Bremen Airport (BRE), Hannover Airport (HAJ), and BER, will affect 45,000 passengers, as 351 scheduled flights out of the airports have been canceled.
In February 2023, ver.di’s members also took strike action at seven German airports, namely Frankfurt Airport (FRA), Munich Airport (MUC), Stuttgart Airport (STR), Hamburg Airport (HAM), Dortmund Airport (DTM), HAJ, and BRE. At the time, the union also called for security personnel surcharge increases, in addition to a plea to submit an agreement offer for other employees at airports, such as ground handling agents.