German air traffic controller strike averted

German air traffic controller strike averted

A peak summer strike by German air traffic controllers has been averted at the 11th hour as the country’s air traffic authority called for arbitration in a row over pay.

The GdF union representing Germany's air traffic controllers had planned to stage a six-hour walkout between 6am and noon local time.

Two Frankfurt labour courts in Frankfurt successively ruled yesterday that the walk out could go ahead, rejecting court injunctions sought by the air traffic authority, according to local reports.

The DFS national air traffic authority then called for arbitration, which bans strikes while the mediation efforts of an independent arbiter take place over the coming weeks.

The move is seen as final option to prevent industrial action which would have disrupted hundreds of flights across Europe.

A similar walkout was thwarted last week, after the national air traffic authority won a court injunction against it.

DFS managing director Jens Bergmann said: “Through its call for an arbitration the DFS averts the air traffic controllers' strike which would have caused huge inconvenience and financial losses for travellers and airlines.”

The controllers’ union, which represents almost 6,000 workers, has been seeking a one-year wage deal with a 6.5% pay increase and changes to the organisational structure. It has rejected the air traffic authority's offer of a lower raise over a longer period.

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