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Sunday, February 5, 2023

Berlin-Brandenburg: Warning strike at the capital’s airport: No passenger flights

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With its announcement of the warning strike alone, Verdi paralyzed air traffic at Berlin-Brandenburg Airport for today. Are collective bargaining now gaining momentum?

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With a far-reaching warning strike, the Verdi union increased the pressure on employers during collective bargaining for 6,000 employees at Berlin-Brandenburg Airport (BER). As a result, no passenger traffic can be processed at BER today. 300 flight movements with around 35,000 passengers were originally planned. Numerous flights have been canceled, some postponed to Thursday. Depending on the airline, customers were given the option of rebooking their trips or alternatively switching to the train. A few flights divert to Dresden and Leipzig/Halle.

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The strikers

The Verdi union has called on the employees of the airport company, aviation security and ground handling services to stop working between 3.30 a.m. and 11.59 p.m. This affects central work areas for regular flight operations, such as the airport fire brigade, check-in, baggage handling or aircraft fueling.

The success of the warning strike became clear shortly after the announcement on Monday: just one hour after Verdi’s press release, the airport already indicated that no passenger flight could take place at BER on Wednesday.

Union demands

Verdi wants the employees of the airport company and the ground handling services to pay 500 euros more per month with a term of the collective agreement of twelve months. In both negotiations, the employer side is demanding significantly longer contract periods, and tax-free one-off payments of up to 2,000 euros have been offered to the employees of the airport company. “An additional one-off inflation compensation premium is good, but cannot replace a sustainable increase in the table,” said Verdi.

strikes with similar consequences

The last major warning strike with similar consequences was several years ago: In April 2018, hundreds of flights across Germany had to be canceled because collective bargaining for municipal and federal employees was not progressing. In eight federal states, tens of thousands of employees went down their work during a warning strike. In addition to airports, urban transport, daycare centers, clinics, administrations and indoor swimming pools were also affected in many places.

What else is planned for today?

The union has called on the strikers to come to Willy-Brandt-Platz in front of the terminal building from 8 a.m. A rally is to be held there from 10:00 a.m. Verdi expects up to 1500 participants. A demo train will also go towards the terminal, said Enrico Rümker from Verdi.

The next rounds of negotiations will follow on January 30 (ground services) and February 8 (airport company).

What the warning strikes mean for holiday travel

Rümker emphasized that the time for the current warning strike had been carefully selected. “We can already say that there will be no further strikes during the winter holidays in Berlin and Brandenburg (January 30 to February 3),” Rümker told dpa. Wednesday is also not the busiest day of the week. According to Rümker, the three collective bargaining negotiations were deliberately combined into one walkout so as not to hang one warning strike on the next.

The Association of German Commercial Airports, on the other hand, sharply criticized the walkout. “The duration, scope and intensity of the warning strike are completely exaggerated. This clearly exceeds the limits of a so-called warning strike,” said General Manager Ralph Beisel.

Source: Stern

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