World

Berlin airport 'paralyzed' as Europe hit by another day of strikes

January 25, 2023
Passengers walk past the display board showing all flights as canceled during a warning strike at Berlin-Brandenburg BER Airport in Schoenefeld, Germany
Passengers walk past the display board showing all flights as canceled during a warning strike at Berlin-Brandenburg BER Airport in Schoenefeld, Germany

BERLIN — Several sectors across Europe have been impacted by strikes as workers demand higher pay and better working conditions.

Around 300 flights were canceled at the Berlin Brandenburg Airport as workers went on strike, the airport said.

Those flights would have transported some 35,000 passengers.

“Affected passengers are asked to contact their airline for information on rebooking and alternative travel options,” the airport added in a statement.

Employees in security, ground handling services and the company running the airport were striking over a pay dispute.

The airport opened in 2020 after significant delays and construction problems. Berlin Brandenburg Airport continues to struggle financially with a lot of debt but is working on becoming "financially independent," a spokesman said.

Workers at an Amazon warehouse in Coventry became the first in the UK to go on strike over the company’s low pay.

The workers voted in mid-December to go on strike.

“The fact that they are being forced to go on strike to win a decent rate of pay from one of the world's most valuable companies should be a badge of shame for Amazon,” said GMB senior organiser Amanda Gearing in a press release when the vote happened.

A spokesperson for the GMB union said the workers make £10.50 (€11.89) as a base rate per hour but the workers are asking for £15 (roughly €17).

Around 300 workers went on strike on Wednesday at the Amazon warehouse.

A spokesman from Amazon said that "a tiny proportion of our workforce is involved."

"In fact, according to the verified figures, only a fraction of 1% of our UK employees voted in the ballot - and that includes those who voted against industrial action," the spokesman said. He argued that the company offers competitive pay.

Italy's petrol station operators have been on strike across the country since Tuesday evening, although self-service stations remain open.

The action is taking place on both motorways and local routes.

Unions however are divided on how long the strike will last. Some operators will continue throughout Thursday while others will end it on Wednesday.

The main reason for the strike is the obligation for operators to display a panel showing the regional average fuel price. Unions say the government's measure is accusing operators of "speculating on gas prices at the expense of the consumers".

Despite the strike, however, Italian law requires that at least 50% of stations in urban areas remain open. On motorways, there should be at least one station operating every 100 kilometres.

For motorways, you can find out what petrol stations are still open with this list published by the country's Conference of Regions and Autonomous provinces.

The leaders of France's eight biggest unions are holding a press conference in Paris at 15:30 CET over the government's controversial pension reform, which aims to raise the retirement age from 62 to 64.

According to a poll conducted in January by IFOP, the reform is opposed by 68% of French people.

The proposal has already triggered fierce protests in the country, with opposition parties arguing the retirement age should be reduced instead.

Last week, over one million people took to the streets against the planned overhaul. In Paris, police clashed with protesters, with doctors having to amputate the testicle of a young man after he was clubbed in the groin by a police officer. — Euronews


January 25, 2023
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