BERLIN Feb 8 German ground staff went on strike
at Berlin's two airports on Wednesday, forcing the cancellation
of 137 flights and delaying many more.
Ground crew, represented by union Verdi, went on strike at
Tegel and Schoenefeld airports at 0400 GMT and were due to
resume work at 1000 GMT. They want a pay rise of roughly 10
percent to 12 euros an hour.
Verdi says ground staff, whose roles include loading and
unloading planes and directing them on the tarmac, are paid too
little considering safety is paramount in the industry and the
workload is increasing due to rising passenger numbers.
Passenger numbers to Tegel and Schoenefeld rose a combined
11 percent in 2016.
About 500 take-offs and landings were planned for Wednesday
at Berlin's airports, an airports spokesman said. He said no
more specific figures were immediately available.
Ground crew were also on strike at smaller airports in
Hamburg and Stuttgart.
"It's a pay level that for the amount of work we do simply
isn't enough," Verdi negotiator, Enrico Ruemker, told Reuters TV
at Tegel. "We're due to negotiate for the fourth time on
February 10 and if no offer is put forward then further strikes
are very likely."
Airlines that serve the German capital, including Lufthansa
, easyJet, Air Berlin and Ryanair
, had to cancel or delay flights.
Hotel rooms are hard to find as Berlin is hosting a trade
fair this week, and easyJet said on its website that it was
offering hotel accommodation in Cottbus, about 125 km (78 miles)
(Reporting by Reuters TV; Writing by Victoria Bryan; Editing by