World

Strike by German airport security staff causes travel chaos

Flights across Germany are being disrupted after security staff at eight airports went on strike over pay.

More than 500 flights cancelled at Frankfurt airport alone

Security staff assemble at the airport in Hamburg on Tuesday. The strike is taking place at eight airports across Germany. (Christian Charisius/dpa via Associated Press)

Flights across Germany are being disrupted after security staff at eight airports went on strike over pay.

The ver.di union on Tuesday called on staff at airports including Frankfurt, Hamburg, Hannover and Bremen to walk off the job between 2 a.m. and 8 p.m. local time.

In Frankfurt alone, where more than 1,000 security staff were participating in the strike, 570 flights were cancelled and across Germany, up to 220,000 passengers may be affected.

"Air traffic is severely affected," ver.di's Benjamin Roscher in Frankfurt told the German news agency dpa. "We hope that the employers will finally be responsive to our demands."

Frankfurt is the main hub for Germany's biggest airline, Lufthansa. The airline said earlier that passengers with a flight from Frankfurt can rebook free onto another flight until Jan. 20.

Ver.di said it is still waiting for employers to increase the pay of 23,000 security staff conducting checks and is demanding their hourly rates rises to 20 euros ($30.25 Cdn).

Employers association BDLS said this could amount to a 30 per cent increase in some cases.

"Again, the trade dispute is being carried out on the backs of hundreds of thousands of passengers, the airlines and many other companies belonging to the German tourism industry," said Michael Rabe, general secretary of the Federal Association of the German Tourism Industry.

Last week, strikes across Germany resulted in the cancellation of hundreds of flights.