Aviation News

August 8, 2011

German Air Traffic Controllers Set to Strike Tuesday Morning

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By: BNO News
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The German Trade Union of Air Traffic Control (GDF) has called on its 5,500 members to participate in a six-hour strike on Tuesday morning, the union said on Monday, risking major disruption.

Frankfurt Airport

The union is currently locked in a pay dispute with the controllers’ employer, the German Air Navigation Services (DFS), which is a company owned by the government and is responsible for air traffic control in Germany.

“Dear members of the GDF, the state of the labor dispute with Deutschen Flugsicherung (DFS) is unchanged,” a letter from GDF to its members said. “The invitation of the DFS last week to re-negotiate contained no new offers, so unfortunately that has been no basis for new negotiations.”

It added: “Therefore the following call goes out to all of you: The union of air traffic control requires ALL of the German wage employees working on air traffic at all locations on Tuesday, 09 August, 2011, between 6 a.m. and 12 p.m., to lay down their work for 6 hours.”

The letter said several locations were excluded from the strike so air traffic control will still be able to handle emergency situations, but massive delays and flight cancellations are anticipated, should the strike proceed.

A Frankfurt labor court approved the industrial action on Monday afternoon, but German airlines and tourism industries have been highly critical of the timing of the strike which comes in the middle of the holiday season. The GDF has asked for air travelers’ understanding that it saw no other course in the stalled pay dispute other than to strike, according to The Local.de.

The dispute revolves around pay and conditions for the union’s 5,500 members. The GDF is demanding a 6.5 percent wage increase in a 12-month pay deal while the DFS is reportedly offering a longer-term agreement, consisting of a 3.2 percent rise from August 1, followed by a 2 percent rise or at least a rise keeping pace with inflation from November 1, 2012.

At the moment, the salary of controllers starts at €90,000 ($128,000) per year.

The Trade Union of Air Traffic Controllers (GDF) was forced to cancel a strike last Wednesday after it was banned by a labor court in Frankfurt, saying some of the union’s demands were unacceptable, The Local reported.

The DFS could still attempt to halt Tuesday’s strike with a last minute legal appeal or by agreeing to arbitration talks late on Monday or early Tuesday, but no agreement was reached by late Monday evening.