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Germany

German security staff strike at Düsseldorf, Hamburg airports

Passengers travelling out of two international airports in Germany are facing delays after security personnel walked off the job. The strikes, which are to continue on Friday, are part of an ongoing wage dispute.

The staff who walked off the job in the early hours of Thursday are responsible for conducting security checks on passengers boarding outbound flights.

Passengers at both Düsseldorf and Hamburg airports faced long delays getting through security to reach their flights as few staff members were there to conduct the checks.

The strikes also forced the cancellation of around half of the scheduled flights in Hamburg and one in three in Düsseldorf.

Thursday's strikes were just the latest in a series of work stoppages called by Germany's biggest services-sector union Verdi, to back up its demand for a significant pay rise for the security personnel.

The union argues that the majority of workers who play a key role in trying to prevent terrorist attacks are underpaid.

The works councils at Düsseldorf and Hamburg airports say more than 70 percent of the security personnel are paid just 8.23 euros ($11.03) per hour.

The Verdi branch in the western state of North Rhine-Westphalia, where Düsseldorf is the state capital, has demanded a pay raise of at least 2.50 euros per hour, while management have offered just 40 cents. The Hamburg branch of the union has demanded a 2.70-euro raise, while management has offered 95 cents.

Thursday's walkouts were to run until midnight, but in the early afternoon, the union announced another round of strikes to be held on Friday. Hamburg is to be affected for a second day running, while instead of Düsseldorf, Cologne-Bonn airport is to be targeted.

pfd/ccp (Reuters, AFP, dpa)