(AFP) – Mar 27, 2012
BERLIN — Travellers in Germany faced major disruption on Tuesday as workers claiming more pay went on strike at airports across the country, causing cancellations and severe delays.
More than one in three flights were cancelled at Frankfurt airport, Germany's biggest and the third busiest in Europe, according to Fraport, which runs operations there.
German flag carrier Lufthansa said it was cancelling around 400 flights due to the strike by public sector workers.
Other airports affected by strikes included Berlin, Stuttgart and Hanover.
Public service workers' union Verdi has called for a 6.5-percent hike in salary for its two million members. The federal state and local authorities countered this with an offer of 3.3 percent over two years.
Fresh negotiations were due Wednesday and Thursday.
The strikes should "accelerate the talks," said Verdi head Frank Bsirske.
However, Interior Minister Hans-Peter Friedrich dismissed the action as "disproportionate."
"Given that we have made a substantial offer, it is unjustified to mistreat the public with these strikes," the minister told Tuesday's edition of the Rheinische Post local daily.
The strike is part of a wave of industrial action carried out by Verdi that has hit schools, public transport and public administration offices.
Some 130,000 people took part in a first wave of strike action across the country at the beginning of the month.
A series of strikes at Frankfurt Airport last month over a separate pay dispute saw hundreds of short-haul flights cancelled. This dispute was settled on March 21.
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