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Strike over pay at Berlin airport grounds all flights -operator

BERLIN (Reuters): All flights were canceled at Germany’s BER airport in the capital Berlin on Wednesday, the operator said, as staff went on strike for the day to press pay demands.

About 300 take-offs and landings with nearly 35,000 passengers were originally planned for Wednesday. The strike began at around 3:30 a.m. (0230 GMT).

The Ver.di union called on airport staff in ground services, aviation security and at the airport company to strike in the wage dispute. It called the one-day work stoppage over what it said was insufficient progress in the three parallel wage talks.

“We hope that the pressure is enough,” said union representative Enrico Ruemker, adding that the goal was movement at the negotiations.

He said the airport company had made a collective bargaining offer for a 24-month term under which salaries would increase by 3 percent on June 1 and by another 2 percent on May 1 next year.

“When you see how high the inflation rate is and consider that the colleagues from this area have not had a salary increase for many, many years, this offer is of course a slap in the face for the colleagues,” Ruemker said.

The German government was set on Wednesday to release its annual economic report. A source told Reuters that a draft of this report forecast 6 percent inflation this year and 2.8 percent for 2024.