Published on Friday, March 10, 2017

ITB visitors hit by Berlin airports strike

Travel industry professionals attending the world's biggest tourism fair, ITB in Berlin, face severe travel disruption due to a 25-hour strike at the city's two major airports, which has grounded almost all flights today.

The industrial action, which began at 4am today and will run until 5am tomorrow, has caused 455 cancellations at Tegel airport and 204 at Schonefeld so far.

Trade unions representing ground workers called the strike action after the companies that run the airports refused to agree to raise wages by around 10%.

White-collar union Verdi has demanded a pay raise of €1 per hour for work contract terms of at least one year, according to the BBC.

Currently ground crew members earn an average of €11 per hour. The employers' group has offered a pay raise of 8% over three years.

"Unfortunately a strike is inevitable because the employers have still not delivered a suitable offer, and it seems that it's not currently possible to negotiate an agreement," said a Verdi spokesman.

ITB ends on Sunday when many thouands of travel industry delegates will be planning to fly home, but  there are warnings that the strike could impact flights well into the weekend.

British Airways said it had been forced to cancel all of its flights to and from Berlin Tegel airport today. It is using larger aircraft on flights to other German cities to accommodate passengers.

"We recommend all customers flying to or from Berlin on Friday and Saturday keep checking our website for the very latest information," it said.

"Although the industrial action is beyond our control and will affect all airlines, we are sorry for the potential disruption to your travel plans."  BA's re-booking options are outlined here.

EasyJet said some of its flights would be cancelled or delayed and affected passengers will be informed. It is offering those whose flights are cancelled overnight accommodation, which can be booked via its website.


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