German Air Travel Paralyzed as Ground Crew Strike Over Pay Dispute

24 Hours walkout

Germany is experiencing a significant disruption to its air travel as strikes have led to numerous flight cancellations, causing widespread inconvenience and frustration for passengers

Hundreds of ground crew at seven major German airports went on strike in a pay dispute, bringing air travel to a standstill. Frankfurt, Munich, Stuttgart, Bremen, Hamburg, Hanover and Dortmund airports are among the worst affected with more than 2,300 flights canceled, impacting 300,000 passengers. The Ver.di union and Civil Service Association are demanding a 10.5% pay increase for workers.

A few international flights were able to take off from Leipzig airport, but domestic flights were canceled. Frankfurt airport, usually bustling with activity, was almost empty, with just a couple of passengers wheeling their suitcases. The strike coincided with the Munich Security Conference, though it was reported that the arrival of prominent guests was not expected to be affected.

German business leaders condemned the strike, calling it unacceptable and accusing the unions of taking the entire country hostage for their own interests. Last summer, similar staff shortages led to chaotic scenes at airports with long queues at check-in and security. Lufthansa has already announced a reduction in its summer program due to staff shortages.

The Ver.di union warned of further strikes if pay and working conditions do not improve. Talks between employers and the union are expected to continue next week, with employers yet to submit their own offer. The leader of Ver.di, Frank Werneke, threatened that the next strikes would have a “different dimension” if employers do not come up with a good offer.