Frankfurt airport, Germany's largest and a major hub for Europe, shut down Friday afternoon for people whose flights originated in Frankfurt after thousands of security personnel walked off the job to press demands for higher wages.

Spokesman Robert Payne said about half of the airport's fliers are transfer passengers, and their flights are not affected. But, he said, with the "massive strike action," the airport had no alternative but to close part of its operations because it did not have the security personnel to process passengers whose flights originated at the airport.

Only 74 of the airport's 1,300 flights have been cancelled, though many were flying only partially filled because of the decision, Payne said.

Ver.di union, which represents around 5,000 private security workers at the airport, said they went on strike at 2 a.m. and were to stay off the job until 11 p.m. in a warning strike to press their demands for an hourly wage of 16 euros ($22). Employers are offering between 10 to 13 euros per hour.

Short-term strikes are a common practice in Germany for unions to put pressure on employers. The two sides are next scheduled to negotiate on March 5.