Controllers’ strike at frankfurt airport stopped at the last second

Controllers' strike at Frankfurt airport stopped at the last second

Almost at the last second, the frankfurt labor court on tuesday evening stopped the planned support strike by the powerful tower controllers for their colleagues on the apron, who had been on strike for almost two weeks. The air traffic control union (gdf) had planned to paralyze almost all air traffic at germany’s largest hub for six hours.

Judge matthias kreutzberg-kowalczyk ruled that the threatened strike, which had led to a shutdown of the airport, was indefensible. At the request of the airport operator fraport, lufthansa and german air traffic control (DFS), he issued an interim injunction against the union and threatened a fine of 250,000 euros.

Although the strike was called off, a large number of flights were threatened with cancellation at germany’s busiest airport on wednesday. "Numerous intercontinental flights have been cancelled for a long time," explained DFS director of operations jens bergmann. Air traffic control had issued international warnings on the day that there could be a strike in frankfurt on wednesday morning. But he was glad that the court had ruled on the matter, said bergmann.

The air traffic control union (gdf) had called the pilots to a six-hour support strike on wednesday for the apron crews at frankfurt airport who have been on strike for almost two weeks now. The pilots are employees of the federally owned deutsche flugsicherung gmbh in langen near frankfurt, while the apron crews are employed by the airport operator fraport. Despite more than 1,500 flight cancellations, their demands for higher wages and better working conditions have not been met.

The apron strike should continue after the legal setback, gdf spokesman matthias maas announced. The gdf announced that it would appeal the decision. However, a date had not yet been set. The strike in the tower would thus definitely not take place on wednesday morning. If the second instance is successful, the support strike could start on one of the next days, said maas.

After initially two waves of strikes, the collective bargaining talks between fraport and gdf about the apron workers broke down last friday. The apron strike is initially limited until thursday morning.

Lufthansa has complained of high losses as a result of the strikes. Personnel director stefan lauer spoke on tuesday of a new dimension that the company would not accept. "We are clearly the main victim in this dispute," said lauer. Passengers are currently making a beeline for europe’s biggest airline.

The german air transport association (BDL) had demanded that the federal government prohibit the pilots from striking. They are employees of the federal company DFS and perform sovereign functions. "Therefore, their participation in the labor dispute of the 200 apron workers goes beyond all bounds," declared BDL president klaus-peter siegloch in berlin. Federal transport minister peter ramsauer (CSU) rejected a direct instruction to the DFS controllers. As minister, he cannot influence ongoing wage disputes.

Passengers in berlin had to prepare for flight cancellations due to another strike. In tegel and schonefeld, the trade union verdi wants to call for spontaneous work stoppages at short notice. The background here is a wage dispute in passenger and baggage handling.

Again, around 200 flights were cancelled in frankfurt on tuesday, about 80 percent of the planned traffic took place.

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