By EMMANUEL YASHIM
BERLIN- The terminal buildings of Berlin’s international airport were virtually empty on Wednesday morning, with all passenger flights cancelled or rescheduled due to a strike by staff.
Trade union Verdi called on airport workers, security staff and ground handlers to all walk off the job.
The strike is set to last throughout the day.
The work stoppage is expected to affect the airport fire brigade, refuelling operations, baggage handling, and passenger check-in counters.
The union is demanding wage increases of €500 ($540) per month for the employees of the airport company and the ground handling services over a 12-month collective bargaining contract.
Employers have pushed for a much longer contract in negotiations.
At 8 am (0700 GMT), numerous workers gathered in front of the main terminal building of the Berlin-Brandenburg (BER) airport.
Only occasional passengers arrived who had not heard about the strike.
About 35,000 passengers had originally been scheduled to pass through the airport on roughly 300 flights on Wednesday.
Airlines have postponed some flights to Thursday and diverted several flights to airports in Dresden and Leipzig.
Other passengers have been rebooked on trains.
Verdi has called on striking workers to picket outside the airport’s main terminal beginning at 8 am, with a rally planned for 10 am.
Verdi said it expects as many as 1,500 participants.
The last time labour unrest in Germany cancelled so many flights came during a major nationwide strike in April 2018.
Hundreds of flights across the country were cancelled after tens of thousands of municipal and federal government workers walked off the job.
That strike also affected public transport, daycare centres, health clinics, government administrative offices and public swimming pools in many parts of Germany. (dpa/NAN)