Union calls strike at German airports Thursday as part of public-sector pay dispute

FRANKFURT – Germany’s main public-sector union has called on workers at Frankfurt and most of the country’s other major airports to go on strike Thursday to reinforce pay demands for some 2.1 million workers.

The 11-hour strike at Frankfurt, Germany’s largest airport, will last from 3:30 a.m. (0230 GMT) until 2:30 p.m. (1330 GMT), Ute Fritzel, a spokeswoman for the ver.di union, said Tuesday.

The strike will affect ground and freight handling, maintenance, administrative and security staff, she said. The airport warned passengers to expect “major disruptions and flight cancellations.”

Ver.di later said that walkouts also are planned Thursday at Munich, Cologne-Bonn, Duesseldorf, Hamburg, Hannover and Stuttgart airports. It said those strikes also will affect the day’s early shift and end by early afternoon.

The airport walkouts are part of a wider dispute in which the union is asking for a pay hike of 3.5 per cent plus 100 euros ($138) for 2.1 million federal and municipal employees. A new round of pay talks is scheduled next week.

Short-term strikes are a common practice in Germany for unions to put pressure on employers.