February 20, 2014 / 6:55 PM / 4 years ago

Union calls on Frankfurt airport security staff to strike Friday

FRANKFURT (Reuters) - German trade union Verdi has called on security workers at Frankfurt airport to go on strike on Friday in a bid to push for higher pay, a move likely to cause widespread disruption at Europe’s third largest hub.

The airport employs around 5,000 people in areas such as security controls, freight checks and airport security and services, Verdi said in a statement on Thursday.

The strike will begin at 0100 GMT and run until 2200 GMT, the union said.

“We believe this could cause significant disruption,” Verdi negotiator Mathias Venema said.

Germany’s largest airline Deutsche Lufthansa said on Thursday it would cancel 15 domestic and pan-European flights on Friday morning due to the planned strike.

Employers’ association BDSW, the subject of the strike action, said it would try to bring in staff from other airports, as it did earlier this week with a related strike at the regional Hahn airport.

Airport operator Fraport said it would have extra staff on hand to help organise expected queues in the terminals at check-ins and security controls.

A spokesman recommended passengers arrive earlier than normal and use online check-in services.

“I can’t speculate on the level of disruption but we will do everything to keep the airport running,” he said.

Lufthansa, which operates around two-thirds of the flights flying into and out of Frankfurt, said the strike could lead to disruption but it was too early to speculate on delays or cancellations.

The union is calling for a hourly pay rate of 16 euros ($22.01) for employees in the state of Hesse and said employers had offered between 10 euros and 13 euros an hour. Workers in other states get up to around 15 euros a hour, it said.

A spokeswoman for the BDSW said the association remained ready to negotiate, but that it could not meet Verdi’s demands for immediate pay increases of in some cases up to 30 percent.

The next meeting between the two sides is due to take place on March 5.

Reporting by Victoria Bryan and Peter Maushagen; Editing by Maria Sheahan and David Evans

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