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Frankfurt airport to be hit by walkout

A union representing ground workers at Germany's Frankfurt airport announced that they will go on strike for 24 hours from Monday, a move that is set to lead to hundreds of flight cancellations.

The GdF union said Sunday the walkout at continental Europe's second-largest hub will last from 0400 GMT Monday to the same time Tuesday.

The union is engaged in a dispute with airport operator Fraport over pay and working conditions for some 200 ground workers.

Fraport spokesman Mike Peter Schweitzer said the airport will be able to handle only about 70 per cent of the 1,250 scheduled flights for Monday because of the strike, meaning airlines might have to cancel almost 400 flights.

"There will be delays and cancellations," he acknowledged.

"We are ready for further talks with the union and are willing to compromise. We therefore urge the union to return to the negotiation table," Schweitzer said.

The workers already staged two shorter walkouts Thursday and Friday, forcing the cancellation of hundreds of flights each time. Airlines were still able to operate more than half of their scheduled flights, cancelling mostly short and mid-range flights.

The air traffic controllers' union GdF, which also represents ground workers, has been locked in a bitter pay dispute with Fraport AG for months. The company has refused to accept the result of an arbitration panel, leading to the strike.

"We regret that we are forced to further measures," union spokesman Matthias Maas said, lamenting that "Fraport AG's stubborn stance does not leave us other options."



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