Strike Cripples German Airports

Scores of flights canceled; Berlin transport also shut
By Jason Farago,  Newser Staff
Posted Mar 5, 2008 7:23 AM CST
Travelers wait during a strike of public service workers union ver.di at Duesseldorf airport, western Germany, Wednesday March 5, 2008. Public service employees walked off their jobs in an effort to negotiate...   (Associated Press)
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(Newser) – Thousands of German airport workers have walked off the job on the first day of a strike, leading to hundreds of flight cancellations across Europe's largest country. Frankfurt International Airport, a key European hub, was picketed by more than 2,000 employees from baggage handlers to check-in counter workers and even firefighters, reports AP. In a coordinated action, Berlin's subway, tram, and bus workers began their own 10-day strike.

"We can hold out for a very, very long time," threatened a union leader as management signaled a willingness to compromise. The strike comes at a delicate moment for the government and the financial sector. Revelations about an enormous tax fraud scandal, combined with job cuts at profitable companies like BMW, have led to perceptions that the profits from Germany's boom economy are being unfairly distributed.