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Delays at Copenhagen Airport as baggage staff continue wildcat strikes

SAS baggage handling staff at Copenhagen Airport continued an industrial walkout on Monday morning, resulting in flight delays.

An information screen at Copenhagen Airport
An information screen at Copenhagen Airport on February 14th 2022 amid strikes by baggage handling staff. Photo: Liselotte Sabroe/Ritzau Scanpix

Baggage staff at Copenhagen Airport have been engaged in a wildcat strike – meaning a strike that is not endorsed by the workers’ trade union and in breach of their collective bargaining agreement – since Saturday morning.

Dissatisfaction with wage and working conditions has been reported to be the reason for the wildcat strikes, news wire Ritzau reports.

The walkouts have resulted in delayed flight departures and problems sending checked-in luggage on some services.

The Danish labour court, Arbejdsretten, on Sunday ruled that baggage staff must resume work again on Monday, but that was not complied with.

The SAS baggage staff are employed by the SAS Ground Handling (SGH) company, which manages baggage for several airlines and not only SAS.

Other airlines which use the company at Copenhagen Airport include Aegean, Air France, KLM and Lufthansa.

As such, services with those airlines as well as SAS can be affected by the wildcat strikes.

SGH staff were reported to have been in discussions with representatives to their union, 3F, on Monday, after which the continuation of the strikes was reported by broadcasters DR and TV2.

Passengers affected by the strikes may be able to apply for compensation in some cases, according to an analyst who spoke to news wire Ritzau.

“It is probably possible to get compensation for some of this because it is in breach of the collective bargaining agreement,” Jacob Pedersen, senior stock market analyst with Sydbank and aviation industry specialist, said to Ritzau.

READ ALSO: What are your rights if your flight is delayed or cancelled in Denmark?

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TRAVEL NEWS

Copenhagen Airport passengers warned of more queues on holiday weekends

Long queues were reported at Copenhagen Airport during last week’s extended public holiday weekend and similar issues are likely during two more upcoming holidays.

Copenhagen Airport passengers warned of more queues on holiday weekends

Staff shortages at security checks, caused by a lengthy rehiring process following the Covid-19 crisis, have been blamed for crowds and long queues at Copenhagen Airport during peak times this spring.

Long waiting times at security were reported both Thursday and Sunday at Copenhagen Airport, resulting in a significant number of passengers missing flights, broadcaster DR writes.

The airport’s commercial director Peter Krogsgaard told DR that Copenhagen is not alone in experiencing problems with queues.

“Copenhagen Airport and all airports in Europe have had a lot to do in re-hiring and training many employees after corona,” Krogsgaard said.

“We are therefore seeing that, now passengers are coming back and fortunately want to travel again, we are under a bit of pressure to begin with,” he said.

This means that passengers planning to travel during two more upcoming peak times – the public holidays on Ascension Day (Thursday May 26th) and Pentecost (Monday June 6th) – should brace themselves for lengthy queues at the airport.

Up to 70,000 passengers are expected during the first of the two public holidays, according to Copenhagen Airport.

“We expect to be very busy and are therefore advising all passengers travelling within Europe to arrive two hours before their flight. If you are going to outside of Europe, to the Unites States or Asia, you should come three hours before,” Krogsgaard told DR.

Passengers have few options should they miss flights due to long waits at security, a consumer rights consultant said to DR.

“You are in a very bad situation if you get to the airport too late in relation to the waiting times there actually are at security, because it’s your own responsibility to get to the airport in time to make the flight,” Vagn Jelsøe, senior consultant with the Danish Consumer Council (Forbrugerrådet Tænk), said to DR.

The airport expects to be fully staffed by the beginning of June, DR reports.

“Since January, we’ve done nothing other than hire a lot of new people and they must be trained and educated, and it takes some time for them to get to the security lanes,” Krogsgaard also said.

Airline SAS last week said it would cancel around 4,000 flights over the summer. The decision was made due to staff shortages combined with delayed deliveries of new aeroplanes, SAS said.

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