* Verdi union calls on public sector workers to strike
* Frankfurt, Munich, Cologne, Duesseldorf, others affected
* Lufthansa expects significant disruption
(Adds comment from Lufthansa, details on pay talks)
FRANKFURT, March 25 Passengers at German
airports face lengthy delays on Thursday after trade union Verdi
called for a strike by ground staff as part of wider industrial
action over public sector pay.
Verdi on Tuesday called on ground staff, baggage handlers
and maintenance staff at almost all of Germany's big airports to
strike during the morning shift on Thursday, which runs until
The airport strike is part of wider industrial action by
public sector workers, including those driving local transport
or running childcare centres, after public sector pay talks
failed to produce any sign of a deal.
Lufthansa, Germany's largest airline, said it
expected significant disruption and would announce information
on potential flight cancellations and alternative travel
arrangements on Wednesday.
Verdi represents around 6,000 public sector airport workers
in Frankfurt, Europe's third-largest hub. Lufthansa said it
would have to cancel a majority of its flights from Frankfurt if
many workers took part in the action.
"Verdi is once again ensuring that a third party that is not
part of the pay dispute, will be hit by the strike," it said.
The strike will affect Cologne-Bonn, Duesseldorf, Hamburg,
Hanover and Stuttgart airports, as well as Munich and Frankfurt.
Trade unions want pay rises of 3.5 percent and an extra 100
euros ($140) per month for some 2.1 million federal and
municipal public sector workers. That would amount to a total
increase of 6.7 percent, they say.
While the government accepts there will be a pay increase,
it is unwilling to meet the demands by the Verdi and dbb trade
unions. Interior Minister Thomas de Maiziere has described them
German air travellers could face disruption from other
industrial unrest too. Lufthansa pilots voted on Friday to back
their demands for better pay and working conditions with
Verdi's call comes after a strike by private sector security
staff at Frankfurt airport last month caused dozens of flight
cancellations and delayed thousands of passengers.
A third round of public sector pay negotiations is due to
take place on March 31-April 1.
($1 = 0.7255 Euros)
(Reporting by Victoria Bryan; Editing by Mark Potter)