Travellers to, from and within Germany tomorrow face widespread disruption because of a strike by members of the Verdi union. It will affect ground handling, check in, security and fire cover at the key hubs of Frankfurt and Munich, as well as the low-cost gateways of Dusseldorf, Cologne/Bonn, Dortmund and Hanover. The union is seeking a 6 per cent wage increase for its 2.1m members across a wide range of public-service roles.
Passengers using the country’s busiest airport, Frankfurt, are being warned that access roads may be blocked by strikers. Anyone who does make it to the airport faces long security queues and flight cancellations.
British Airways said it hopes to operate a full schedule, but warned: “We may not be able to accept hold luggage at Frankfurt or Dusseldorf airports.” BA is allowing passengers booked to fly to or from Germany tomorrow to switch to adjacent dates without penalty.
French air-traffic controllers will begin another strike tomorrow at 6pm British time. It is due to finish at 5am, British time, on Friday. Airlines serving Paris Orly airport have been told to prepare to cancel one in five flights - though services to Corsica and French overseas territories in the Caribbean and Indian Ocean are unaffected.
The controllers are unhappy about staffing and retirement arrangements, as well as the prospect of job losses with moves towards a “Single European Sky”.
According to the organisation representing Europe’s biggest airlines, A4E, the action will take the number of strike days by French air-traffic controllers to 44 in the past seven years. That works out at an average of one day's strike every two months. Thomas Reynaert, A4E's managing director, said: “Repeated and disproportionate industrial action by ATC unions just means victimising passengers and weakening European airlines.”
Whiile airlines need not pay cash compensation for delays and cancellations caused by strikes, they are responsible for providing meals and accommodation for disrupted passengers.
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