Security personnel went on strike at eight German airports on Tuesday amidst an ongoing battle over pay and working conditions.
According to workers’ union Verdi, stoppages were occurring at major international airports including Berlin, Hamburg, Cologne/Bonn, and Düsseldorf. Security workers at Germany’s largest and busiest airport, Frankfurt, were also going on strike.
Airports warned passengers to expect cancelations, delays, and a long wait to get through security checkpoints. Frankfurt Airport went so far as to tell passengers not to come to the airport at all because there was no way they’d reach their flights without the staff at security checkpoints.
Verdi is asking for at least one euro more an hour for workers. According to employers, this would adjust standardized pay scales such that it would amount to 40% more pay for many employees.
A further round of talks between the union and company managers was planned for Thursday.
As Russia prepared to invade Ukraine in late February, low-cost airline Wizz Air ‘abandoned’ its staff and failed to get its employees out of harm’s way before Russian troops stormed across Ukraine’s border according to the European Transport Workers Federation (ETF).
As President Vladimir Putin ordered a full-scale invasion of its neighbor, Wizz Air found itself with four aircraft and around 200 employees stuck inside Ukraine. By this point, Ukraine’s airspace had been closed to civilian aircraft and there was no easy way to extract staffers to safe countries like Poland or Hungary.
“We have information indicating that many of Wizz’s employees in Ukraine were abandoned in Ukraine,” the ETF claims. “Some of them spent more nights sleeping on the floors of the Kyiv subway; others were stuck in districts subject to bombing by Russia, living in constant fear, losing their homes.”
However, according to Wiz Air, they hired private security forces using personnel that had military experience to evacuate its staffers under the cover of darkness. Families were issued bulletproof vests to make it out of Ukraine unharmed.
Not every worker, however, has been allowed to leave. The Ukrainian government has banned men aged between 18 and 65 from leaving the country, while other Wizz Air workers have decided to stay to be with their families.