Berlin’s Brandenburg Airport (BER) has announced that no passenger flights will operate on Wednesday, January 25, due to strike action called by ground staff.
On the evening of January 23, the airport company informed its partners, including airlines, ground handling service providers, security companies and businesses located at the airport, of the announcement of an all-day warning strike by Berlin-based trade union Ver.di.
A spokesperson for BER said: “The airport company must assume in this situation that no regular passenger flights can take place at BER on this day.”
Brandenburg authorities have said that approximately 300 take-offs and landings were due on Wednesday’s schedule, with 35,000 passengers expected to travel via the airport.
Ongoing Pay Negotiations
Ver.di is Germany’s second-largest trade union, representing approximately 2.5 million public service workers across the country. On January 23, the union called on Brandenburg’s ground staff, including handlers, security workers, and others employed by the airport, to walk out as part of a dispute over wages.
The strike is due to run from 03:30 to 23:59 CET on January 25. As part of ongoing negotiations, the trade union is petitioning for €500 extra per month for all ground staff, a figure which is significantly higher than employers are willing to offer. Frank Werneke, Ver. di’s chairman, offered a statement:
“Personnel in public service of the federal and local governments are seething. Employers must know: the workforce will not be satisfied with warm words and a bad result in the collective bargaining round.”
Berlin-Brandenburg has had a long and tumultuous history. The airport’s original opening, planned for June 2012, was abruptly cancelled due to a series of failed safety inspections. Eight years later, in early 2020, the airport’s opening was again threatened by the coronavirus pandemic. It was only on October 31 2020 that commercial passenger flights were finally permitted.
BER has since faced a number of ongoing financial challenges, particularly in response to post-pandemic demand surges combined with staffing shortages. Operational difficulties have resulted in passenger wait times of up to 4 hours during high-volume periods.
Wednesday’s disruption will inevitably add to the difficulty the airport faces. Staff at Dusseldorf airport in Western Germany are also preparing to strike “in the coming days,” raising fears that the spring break travel season, due to begin in March, may be affected.
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