* 660 flights cancelled Monday, 603 because of strike
* Strike extended until 0400 GMT Wednesday
* Airlines bus passengers to airports in Dresden, Hanover
* Union says strike may be extended again
(Adds cancellations for Tuesday)
BERLIN, March 13 Berlin's airports will remain
paralysed on Tuesday after ground staff extended a strike,
stepping up pressure in a dispute over pay that has already
caused the cancellation of more than 1,000 flights since Friday.
Ground staff at Berlin's two airports started their latest
walkout on Monday morning after a break over the weekend. The
trade union Verdi said earlier the strike would be extended
until Wednesday morning.
The walkout at Tegel and Schoenefeld airports - which are
served by airlines including Air Berlin, Ryanair
, easyJet and Lufthansa - led to the
cancellation of 660 flights on Monday, virtually all the flights
due to use the airports.
The operator of Berlin airport said late on Monday that a
further 603 flights would be cancelled on Tuesday. On Friday,
670 flights were cancelled.
Along with the cancellations, airlines are trying to divert
passengers. EasyJet said it was operating to Dresden airport;
Air Berlin will transfer some passengers to Hanover to catch
Berlin Mayor Michael Mueller was among those whose travel
plans were disrupted on Monday, having to fly to Moscow via
Air Berlin said the strike was costing the industry millions
of euros a day, but that it was too early to give an exact
The strike is due to end on Wednesday at 0500 CET (0400
GMT). While ground staff are ready to engage in talks to end the
strike if Berlin airports make an improved offer, they could
also decide to extend the walkout if no new offer is made.
"It may well be that early tomorrow morning we say we will
continue the strike on Wednesday. It's a 50:50 chance," Enrico
Ruemker, who heads the strikes for Verdi, told Reuters.
Ground staff, whose roles include check-in, loading and
unloading planes and directing aircraft on the tarmac, are
employed by companies including WISAG, Aeroground, Ground
Solution, AHS and Swissport Berlin.
A spokesman for the employers said the strike was
irresponsible. "It won't help solve the row," he said.
The union wants an increase in pay for ground staff to 12
euros ($12.80) 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.
(Reporting by Victoria Bryan, Klaus Lauer and Peter Maushagen;
Additional reporting by Edward Taylor; Editing by Larry King)