Passengers affected as German airport security strike continues

DUESSELDORF, Germany Fri Feb 15, 2013 6:17am EST

DUESSELDORF, Germany (Reuters) - Thousands of travellers faced a second day of disruption at German airports as a strike by security guards over pay continued on Friday, causing more than 100 flight cancellations.

In addition, Berlin's Schoenefeld airport said it had suspended all arrivals and departures until 1300 GMT after a small private plane ran off the runway in the morning.

Cologne-Bonn airport said more than half of the 200 flights scheduled for Friday had already been cancelled and more would likely follow over the course of the day.

At the northern airport of Hamburg, numerous flights by airlines including Lufthansa (LHAG.DE) were cancelled. The airport's operator said about 20,000 departing passengers were affected by the strike.

The strike had caused more than 200 flight cancellations at Hamburg and Duesseldorf airports on Thursday.

Duesseldorf is Germany's third-busiest airport after Frankfurt and Munich, with more than 20 million passengers per year. Hamburg and Cologne-Bonn have about 13.6 and 9.6 million passengers per year, respectively.

Verdi is calling for wage rises of between 2.50 and 3.64 euros per hour for 34,000 security workers in the state of North Rhine-Westphalia, where Cologne-Bonn and Duesseldorf airports are located.

In Hamburg, the union is calling for a wage hike of 2.70 euros for around 600 security workers.

Works councils estimate that more than 70 percent of the employees work in the lowest wage group, earning just 8.23 euros gross per hour.

German security industry group BDSW has said Verdi's demands were excessive. (Reporting by Matthias Inverardi; Writing by Maria Sheahan; Editing by Hans-Juergen Peters)