Yesterday morning privately employed personnel for the security screening of carry-ons and people went on strike for better pay at Hamburg's International Airport Fuhlsbuettel (HAM). With their morning shift, only one or two security channels instead of 23 that are normally active there were kept open. At holiday peak times, up to 40 channels can be opened.
The line-up of some thousand people arriving at two terminals there caused a back-log of some 4 to 6 hours. This industrial action managed by Germany 's biggest service union "ver.di" had a participation of 95 pc. But this "warning strike" came out of a sudden, no warning, nothing.
When cabin crew members of Germany's major carrier "Lufthansa" went on strike some months ago. Passengers got prior information about the fuss that was going to happen.
The union "ver.di" made the kick in the balls approach instead. They made a full strike for one day from early morning to late evening. In Germany, no landings of cargo and passenger planes normally occur between 11:30 pm till 5:30 am.
The Hamburg scenario was awesome in terms of public relations as well. No information prior to the strike, very few information during the strike and the people were left in the dark about waiting times.
Additionally it was deemed outrageous that the official airport police squads of the Federal Police ("Bundespolizei") and the Federal Customs Service ("Zoll") weren't in charge of relieving the fuss the security people caused there.
Oddly enough, incoming luggage is subject to screening by the respective state employees and civil servants of the federal services, but no helping hand from them when it should have come to open some channels in order to reduce the waiting queues. They are also able to identify the items in carry-ons, right? But no way, the people had to wait endlessly.
Would have this been a major state interference on an industrial action that had been declared without sufficient warning?
Federal Police and Customs Services had quite a lazy day. Shame on them as well for their "Oh, sorry - I'm not in charge of this!"
The only information broadcast by public radio was: "Don't come to Hamburg Airport today - you can't get away from there, please ask your airlines for re-booking!"