BERLIN, March 14 Around 2,000 ground staff whose
series of strikes at Berlin's airports have paralysed air travel
to and from the German capital will not stage further walkouts
this week, while their employers have proposed mediation to end
The 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.
On Tuesday the employers proposed mediation in a bid to end
the walkouts, which have led to more than 1,800 flights being
cancelled over three days, equivalent to almost all the flights
operating out of Berlin's two airports on the strike days since
Friday. On Tuesday 578 flights were grounded.
The latest walkout is due to end at 0400 GMT on Wednesday,
and the union said on Tuesday there would be no strikes for the
rest of the week to allow management to make a new offer.
The union wants 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 positions are so far apart from each other that we
think mediation is the only way to find an acceptable solution
for both sides," a spokesman for the employers said on Tuesday.
Verdi strike leader Enrico Ruemker said the union must first
examine the proposal.
Berlin's two airports are served by carriers including Air
Berlin, Lufthansa , easyJet and
Ryanair , all of which have been hit by the strikes.
The union had earlier on Tuesday raised the prospect of
further strikes without advance notice after saying budget
airline Ryanair had brought in its own ground staff.
Ryanair chief marketing officer Kenny Jacobs confirmed the
carrier had brought in "a number of fully qualified and
authorised ground handling staff" to dispatch Berlin aircraft.
($1 = 0.9401 euros)
(Reporting by Victoria Bryan and Klaus Lauer; Editing by