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UPDATE 6-German air traffic controllers to strike Tues
August 8, 2011 / 6:51 AM / 6 years ago

UPDATE 6-German air traffic controllers to strike Tues

* To strike on Tuesday 0400-1000 GMT

* Court rejects request for injunction

* Controllers’ authority to appeal court decision

* About 3,000 flights seen being affected

(Adds responses from airlines)

By Victoria Bryan and Peter Maushagen

FRANKFURT, Aug 8 (Reuters) - A court gave the all-clear for German air traffic controllers to strike on Tuesday morning, a move likely to disrupt thousands of flights in a busy summer week.

The DFS air traffic authority said it would appeal the rejection of calls for an injunction to prevent the stoppage, which will take place from 0400 GMT until 1000 GMT on Tuesday.

Airlines and airports were bracing for the strike, which the BDL air travel association said would affect about 3,000 domestic and international flights and some 400,000 passengers.

Lufthansa , Air Berlin , Thomas Cook’s airline Condor and TUI (TUIGn.DE) all said they were bringing dozens of departures forward to before 0400 GMT, with updated flight times to be found on their website.

“It’s unbelievable that 400,000 people who want to fly tomorrow are being held hostage,” Condor boss Ralf Teckentrup said.

Some long-haul flights had already taken off in order to reach Germany before the strike started, Lufthansa said.

Rail company Deutsche Bahn said it would work with Lufthansa and Air Berlin to switch people travelling within Germany on to trains.

Planes which would normally fly over Germany would be rerouted.

The air traffic control authority DFS refused to enter mediation, as suggested by the judge, as it believes some demands being made by the GdF union are illegal.

The DFS had successfully brought an injunction against a strike planned for last Thursday. Monday’s appeal will be heard by the court at 1900 GMT.

GdF wants a 6.5 percent pay rise over 12 months, and has asked that pay be linked to workers’ length of service.

It rejected the latest offer from the DFS for a raise of 3.2 percent plus a one-time payment this year, and an increase of at least 2 percent next year.

The DFS had offered fresh talks for this week, and said on Monday it was still prepared to sit down with the union. The union said it would not return to the negotiating table unless there was a change in circumstances.

Faced with a lack of sympathy for the planned strikes, the union also said the strike was not just about more pay for air traffic controllers, but all employees of the DFS.

Airport operator Fraport , whose Frankfurt airport sees about 1,300-1,400 flights a day, described the refusal by the union to enter talks as “incomprehensible”.

Airlines have previously successfully fended off strikes using the courts.

Last year, pilots of German flagship carrier Lufthansa and the country’s No.2 carrier Air Berlin were forced by judges to call off or curtail strikes. (Additional reporting by Ludwig Burger and Maria Sheahan; Editing by David Cowell) ($1=.6147 Pound)

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