An employee at the departures board at the airport in Munich, Germany, where all flights were canceled due to a strike on February 17, 2023.
Berlin/Prague – Employees of seven German airports have been on strike since morning for higher wages and threaten that if the employer does not meet their demands, they will ensure that there will be even more chaos at the airports in the summer months. Almost 300,000 people had to change their travel plans today, including those who wanted to travel from Prague. Traffic is limited at Munich, Frankfurt am Main, Hamburg, Stuttgart, Dortmund, Hannover and Bremen airports.
The Verdi trade union called the strike after unsuccessful negotiations for a wage increase. The 24-hour strike coincides with the start of a security conference in Munich, where more than 40 heads of state and around 60 ministers are expected. For example, the Romanian foreign minister must first travel to Austria and from there travel four hours by land to Munich, Reuters reported, citing a representative of the Romanian embassy.
The strike at German airports is the latest in a series of protests that have hit Europe's biggest economies, including France, Britain and Spain. The high prices of energy and food significantly increase the cost of living for many people. Households have already struggled during the covid-19 pandemic and then again after the start of the war in Ukraine, which affected international trade and contributed to rising inflation.
Airport association ADV said today's strike affects around 295,000 passengers. 2340 flights had to be canceled because of it. Prague Airport lists today's canceled arrivals from Frankfurt am Main and Munich as well as return flights on its website.
On Wednesday, air traffic in Germany was significantly disrupted by an outage of the computer systems of the largest German airline, Lufthansa. On Thursday, hackers tried to disrupt the websites of seven smaller German airports with a large number of targeted requests.
Lufthansa cancels Friday flights to Prague from Frankfurt and Munich, apparently due to a strike
The Lufthansa airline canceled connections between Prague and Germany's Frankfurt am Main and Munich on Friday. Prague Airport spokeswoman Klára Divíšková said this today when asked by ČTK. She added that she did not see the reasons in the system, but the cancellation was probably related to a planned strike by workers at seven German airports. The Verdi union announced on Wednesday that workers at airports in Munich, Frankfurt am Main, Hamburg, Stuttgart, Dortmund, Hanover and Bremen will go on strike due to the so-far failed negotiations over a public sector wage increase.
“As of today Six flights are canceled at 11:00 a.m., it concerns Munich and Frankfurt,” Divíšková told ČTK. Among the canceled connections is already one today, from Munich, according to the website of the Prague airport, arriving in Prague late in the evening. Prague does not have regular direct flights to the other cities where the employees will be on strike. Flights from the low-cost airline Eurowings are still active on Friday, but a spokeswoman for the Prague airport warned that this could still change.
The strike is scheduled to start after midnight on Friday and end on Saturday night. The unions are demanding a 10.5 percent wage increase for the 2.5 million employees in the public sector, but at least an additional 500 euros (11,820 CZK) for each. They also plan more warning strikes before the next round of negotiations on February 22 and 23.