German flights hit by security staff strike

FRANKFURT Fri Jan 25, 2013 1:27pm EST

FRANKFURT (Reuters) - Passengers travelling through Germany's Duesseldorf and Cologne airports suffered a second day of disruption on Friday as security personnel continued a strike over pay.

Duesseldorf, Germany's third largest airport, cancelled around 130 out of 560 flights, while at the smaller Cologne/Bonn airport, a further 40 were scrapped.

Those passengers at Duesseldorf with flights that were still running faced queues of up to two hours to have their coats, bags and shoes x-rayed.

The airports will be spared strikes over the weekend to give the employers a chance to make a new pay offer, the Verdi union said on Friday.

However, there is every chance Hamburg airport could face a further walkout after a separate set of pay talks for security staff there collapsed.

Verdi has called for substantial increases in pay for staff employed by private security firms to pull them out of the low pay sector. In North Rhine-Westphalia state, it wants a 33 percent increase in pay for around 1,000 security personnel.

The BDSW association representing the security firms has called the pay demand "completely excessive" and said the strike is out of proportion. It has offered a pay rise of 9.22 percent.

The BDSW said on Friday that talks for a pay deal for the 600 people who carry out passenger security checks at Hamburg Airport had broken down. In those talks, Verdi had called for a 23 percent pay increase with immediate effect, while employers have offered a two stage increase.

Hamburg security personnel had already walked out last Friday, forcing a third of flights to be cancelled.

Verdi has previously said the strikes could go on indefinitely and could be extended to include other staff and security personnel in a show of solidarity.

The strikes at Duesseldorf and Cologne/Bonn resulted in around 200 flights being cancelled on Thursday. (Reporting by Victoria Bryan and Peter Maushagen; Editing by Gareth Jones and Mark Heinrich)

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