Frankfurt Airport Strikes Resume After Court Bars New Walk-Off

Frankfurt Airport Strike May Spread
The Gewerkschaft der Flugsicherung union, which represents 200 personnel who oversee taxiways and aprons, asked air traffic workers to join the dispute from 5 a.m. to 11 a.m. tomorrow to show “solidarity” with their walkout over pay, it said today. Photographer: Hannelore Foerster/Bloomberg

Frankfurt airport’s ground crew is scheduled to resume a strike over pay this morning as workers await a labor-court ruling on whether they can continue their protests longer than scheduled.

The Frankfurt Labor Court last night approved an application by their employer DFS Deutsche Flugsicherung GmbH, airport owner Fraport AG and Deutsche Lufthansa AG, Germany’s biggest airline, to stop a sympathy strike by control-tower staff. Fraport and Lufthansa have filed a separate injunction to halt the current ground-staff strikes.

The further strikes were “disproportionate” and would not solely serve to support the other strikes, the court said in an e-mailed statement, adding that it would allow an appeal. Three spokesmen for the Gewerkschaft der Flugsicherung union, which represents the ground controllers, did not immediately respond to calls to their mobile phones after normal business hours.

The GdF union had called on about 100 members of tower crews to join the action from 5 a.m. to 11 a.m. today to show “solidarity” in the dispute over pay and the outsourcing of employment contracts.

About 200 flights, or 16 percent of the scheduled total, were scrapped yesterday in the latest action by ground controllers slated to run until 5 a.m. on March 1, according to Fraport.

The labor court is due to hear this morning the second injunction application, in which Fraport and Lufthansa will seek to stop the GdF union from continuing the ground controllers’ action beyond 5 a.m. on March 1, when it’s slated to end.

Most Affected

Lufthansa, whose main hub is Frankfurt, is the party most affected by the dispute, with losses “significantly” in excess of 10 million euros ($13 million) so far, Stefan Lauer, a board member at the Cologne, Germany-based carrier, said yesterday.

Talks aimed at ending the dispute broke down Feb. 24 after Fraport offered terms similar to those agreed at Munich airport. That deal was worth less than one proposed before the start of mediation, according to the GdF group, which has said it will no longer give 24 hours’ notice of any further action.

The union has said it favors proposals from mediator Ole von Beust for a two-step monthly wage increase of between 200 euros and 1,600 euros. It also wants any outsourced jobs to move to a single company on a single contract.

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