Frankfurt Airport Ground Controllers to Resume Strike Tonight

Frankfurt airport’s ground controllers will strike for more than three days starting this evening, resuming industrial action that started in the middle of the month, after contract talks broke down on Feb. 24.

The employees, who handle taxiing planes and bringing aircraft to their gates or parking stands, will halt work from 9 p.m. today until 5 a.m. March 1, the Gewerkschaft der Flugsicherung controllers’ union said on its website.

Traffic at Frankfurt, Europe’s third-busiest airport after London Heathrow and Paris Charles de Gaulle, has been hampered since the union started limited walkouts on Feb. 16. The strike included a three-day stoppage that ended Feb. 22, when the GdF and airport owner Fraport AG agreed to restart negotiations.

The airport, which is the main hub for Deutsche Lufthansa AG, can handle “extended strike periods” by the ground controllers, Fraport said yesterday.

Fraport shifted some administrative employees who have ground-control qualifications to handle the controllers’ jobs during the previous walkouts. That helped lift the proportion of scheduled services completed from 68 percent during the Feb. 16 stoppage to 85 percent on Feb. 21, Fraport said at the time.

The dispute centers on the terms of possible contracting out of controllers’ duties and on pay increases, including an earlier recommendation by a mediator that Fraport rejected as excessive.

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