Passengers at Dusseldorf Airport (DUS) were met with chaos and frustration as flights were delayed and even cancelled due to a strike by ground staff. The strike, which began on Friday morning, is being carried out by members of the Verdi trade union, who are protesting the decision to reallocate handling tasks to other providers by the airport.
Verdi claims the decision will affect up to 700 members of its union, putting their jobs at risk. The union stated that it would resist any social plan with severance packages for the affected employees.
Trade union Vereinte Dienstleistungsgewerkschaft (Verdi) called upon about 700 ground staff to stage a walkout at the airport, leaving passengers confused. As of the time of writing, over a quarter of all the flights in and out of the airport have been cancelled on Friday. However, the numbers are expected to increase as the strike is expected to continue till tomorrow.
According to airport officials, around 90 flights were affected by the strike, with some being delayed for several hours and others being cancelled entirely. The strike, which began at 03:30 on Friday morning, is expected to continue throughout the day and end by 00:30 on Saturday, causing further disruptions for passengers.
According to data from FlightAware, nearly 50 outbound flights have been scrapped altogether by the airport, amounting to about 26% of its departures while about 48 inbound flights have been cancelled, amounting to 28% of the scheduled arrivals.
What is the strike about
Verdi, which represents around 1,500 ground staff at Dusseldorf Airport, has been in negotiations with airport management over what it terms the airport’s decision to reallocate tasks to other providers putting some of its members at risk of losing their jobs. However, the two sides have been unable to reach a compromise, leading to the strike action.
The airport said;
“The union Verdi has called on all employees of Aviapartner Düsseldorf GmbH & Co. KG to go on a warning strike from Friday, January 27, 2023, from 3:30 AM to Saturday, January 28, 0:30 AM. Disruptions in flight operations are to be expected. Please inquire about the status of your flight with your airline or tour operator before you travel.”
According to Verdi, the turnout for today’s warning strike was 90%; hence, the union feels that participation is very good. “participation is very good; the effects are as planned.”
Passengers express their disappointment
Passengers have expressed their frustration with the situation, with many calling the strike “unfair” and “disrespectful” to those who have already planned their travel.
“I’ve been waiting for hours and now my flight has been cancelled,” said one passenger. “I understand the workers’ demands, but this is just causing so much inconvenience for so many people. It’s not fair.”
Other passengers expressed similar sentiments, with many calling on both sides to come to a resolution as quickly as possible.
Check with your airline before travel
Airport officials have urged passengers to check the status of their flights before heading to the airport and to contact their airlines for further information. They also advised passengers to be prepared for delays and cancellations and to consider re-booking their flights for a later date.
Interestingly, despite the disruption of both inbound and outbound flights, the situation around the airport seems to be calm, according to insiders at the airport. Airport spokesman Marcus Schaff said;
“Since the airlines informed their passengers in advance about the cancellations and alternative offers, the situation in the terminal is calm and relaxed.”
The strike is expected to have a significant impact on Dusseldorf Airport, which is a major hub for both domestic and international flights. The airport handles around 16 million passengers per year, and any disruption to operations can have a significant impact on travel plans.
Airport management has condemned the strike, stating that it is “unnecessary” and “disruptive.” They have called on Verdi to return to the negotiating table and work towards a resolution.
This is not the first time that ground staff at Dusseldorf Airport have gone on strike. In 2019, a similar strike caused widespread disruptions, with flights being delayed and cancelled. The strike ultimately resulted in a pay increase for ground staff.
It remains to be seen whether this strike will lead to a resolution or further disruptions for passengers. In the meantime, passengers are advised to stay informed and to plan accordingly.
Has your flight been cancelled or delayed due to a strike? Please leave your comment below.