Vereinte Dienstleistungsgewerkschaft (ver.di, United Services Union), a Germany-based trade union, announced that workers will go on strike at seven German airports, potentially resulting in air traffic coming to a complete “standstill”.
Union members working in the public sector, as well as aviation security and ground handling employees, will go on strike on February 17, 2023. The strikes will affect seven German airports: Frankfurt Airport (FRA), Munich Airport (MUC), Stuttgart Airport (STR), Hamburg Airport (HAM), Dortmund Airport (DTM), Hannover Langenhagen Airport (HAJ), and Bremen Airport (BRE).
“The employees are jointly putting pressure on the respective employers because no results have been achieved in the previous negotiations,” stated Christine Behle, the deputy chair at ver.di.
“In the public service, we are facing the second round of negotiations without an offer and are demanding with the employees that the employers […] submit a negotiable offer in February,” she continued. According to Behle, the labor shortage in ground handling services is “catastrophic”, which is why “an attractive wage increase” is needed to avoid the situation of summer 2022. Aviation security employees are also “entitled to an increase in the surcharges in the collective wage agreements. Employers have so far refused to accept this legitimate demand,” Behle noted.
The union’s deputy chair said that “Inflation, high energy, and food prices” have resulted in “many workers no longer knowing how to pay rent or fill the fridge”. As a result, workers “need significantly more money to make a living.”
ver.di’s statement indicated that due to the union action, “delays, cancellations and even the partial standstill of air traffic are expected to have a strong impact, especially in domestic air traffic”. The union announced the strikes two days in advance, giving travelers notice and enabling them to “fall back on alternative options”.
However, aid delivery to Syria and Turkey would be exempt, and “ver.di would offer employers emergency service agreements”.