* 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 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
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
The ground staff are responsible for check-in, loading and
unloading planes and directing aircraft on the tarmac at
The employers, which include WISAG, Aeroground, Ground
Solution, AHS and Swissport Berlin, said they had made tough
"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)