On Thursday morning, ground staff at Düsseldorf Airport have taken to the picket lines, leading to 56 cancelled flights.
For language learners: we’ve highlighted some useful vocabulary in this news story. You’ll find the German translations at the bottom of the article.
The industrial action is directed against the company Aviapartner, which handles around 60 percent of the aircrafts taking off from Düsseldorf.
Airlines have cancelled 56 take-offs and landings during the strike period, which started at 3 a.m. and is scheduled to last until 11 a.m. A total of around 210 flights had been planned during the strike period, and around 580 flights are planned for all of Thursday.
Among those affected by the industrial action are the market leader Eurowings and the holiday airline Condor. According to their own statements, Laudamotion and Tuifly are not affected.
According to the airport, there are delays in the handling and unloading of baggage. However, aircrafts could also be prevented from taking off because the mobile stairs needed for passengers to board and disembark might be missing.
The collective bargaining dispute concerns employees who load and unload aircrafts and take care of luggage and freight. The so-called warning strike is scheduled to last from 3 am to 11 am.
How could travellers be affected?
A total of 140 flights could be directly or indirectly affected by the strike, the airport reports. It is unclear whether the second baggage service provider at the airport, Acciona, will possibly take over some of the tasks.
The airport recommends passengers flying from Düsseldorf on Thursday to check with their airline about the current status of their flight, and any baggage regulations before they depart for the airport.
Condor and Eurowings advised passengers to take all important items into their hand luggage.
“If the large items cannot be loaded, the beach holiday starts with small luggage,” an airline manager told RP Online, adding that if suitcases are left lying around, an attempt would be made to deliver them quickly.
Condor has raised the limit for allowed hand luggage from six kilos to eight kilos per person. Eurowings asks passengers to take their baggage on board, although both airlines point out that the limits for the permitted size of hand baggage must be adhered to. Passengers are therefore not allowed to bring large suitcases into the cabin.
Background of the strikes
The strikes are in response to current working conditions at the airport. Ground handling at the airport takes place “around the clock”, service union Verdi emphasized on Wednesday.
“The physically strenuous work must be better rewarded. Specifically, the union demands, among other things, a Christmas and holiday bonus as well as better payment for night, shift, and holiday work,” Verdi negotiations leader Peter Büddicker said.
Büddicker,criticized that the employers had not submitted an offer so far.
During the strike, according to the airport, service staff will be deployed in the terminal in order to provide the affected passengers with advice and assistance if necessary.
A total of around 580 outbound and inbound flights are planned at Düsseldorf Airport on Thursday.
Verdi is currently negotiating collective agreements for various groups of ground staff at German airports. Warning strikes have also occurred, resulting in flight cancellations and delays.
On Monday, dozens of flights were cancelled at Hamburg Airport, when ground handling staff were on strike all day.
Verdi has called for a warning strike at Hanover Airport on Thursday in addition to the employees in Düsseldorf.