3 Min Read
* Union, employers agree three-year pay deal
* Compromise sees avg 14 pct pay rise over three years
* Deal comes after strikes, flight cancellations (Adds quote from employer, economic growth context)
BERLIN, March 28 (Reuters) - Germany's Verdi union has agreed a three-year pay deal for its 2,000 ground staff at Berlin's airports, the union said on Tuesday, ending the threat of further strikes and flight disruption.
The deal, reached through mediation, envisages an average 14 percent rise over three years made in four stages, an increase in the hourly wage and improvements in workers' contracts, Verdi said in a statement.
The deal still has to be approved by union members.
"We had to make comprehensive and painful compromises to get a result but the employers also moved in the end," Verdi negotiator Enrico Ruemker said in a statement.
Three days of walkouts by ground staff over the dispute earlier this month led to the cancellation of more than 1,800 flights, equivalent to almost all of the flights that should have operated from Berlin's two airports on those days.
Carriers Air Berlin, Lufthansa, easyJet and Ryanair, operate flights from Berlin's two airports.
Several sectors have already negotiated solid wage rises this year, including civil servants and steel workers.
Economists are watching the pay deals closely, with domestic demand seen driving growth in Europe's largest economy at a time of record-high employment, increased job security, and rock-bottom borrowing costs.
As part of a complex set of demands, Verdi had sought an increase in pay for ground staff to 12 euros ($12.76) an hour from about 11 euros as part of a one-year collective agreement. Management first offered about 10 cents more an hour over four years and then improved that offer to an 8 percent increase over three years.
The ground staff are responsible for check-in, loading and unloading planes and directing aircraft on the tarmac at Berlin's airports.
The employers, which include WISAG, Aeroground, Ground Solution, AHS and Swissport Berlin, said they had made tough concessions.
"We went to the limit of what is economically affordable and a bit further still," a spokesman for the employers said. (Reporting by Madeline Chambers and Klaus Lauer; Editing by Georgina Prodhan and Richard Lough)