German public sector strikes to hit air travel on Tuesday

Frankfurt, above, and Munich airports are the two biggest hubs for Lufthansa, Germany’s largest airline. (Reuters)
Updated 09 April 2018
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German public sector strikes to hit air travel on Tuesday

BERLIN: German public-sector workers will extend strikes to airports across the country, labor union Verdi said on Monday, predicting flight disruption as it seeks to increase pressure in pay talks.
Verdi, which is asking for a 6 percent pay rise for around 2.3 million employees in various public-sector roles across Germany, said ground staff and some fire services staff would be on strike on Tuesday at Frankfurt, Munich, Cologne and Bremen airports.
Frankfurt and Munich are the two biggest hubs for Lufthansa, Germany’s largest airline.
Verdi said the strike at Frankfurt airport would run from 5 a.m. to 6 p.m. local time (0300-1600 GMT) on Tuesday and involve security staff, as well as workers who load and unload planes.
Frankfurt airport operator Fraport warned passengers to expect significant disruption on Tuesday. A spokeswoman said security checkpoints would likely have to be closed due to the strike.
Similar strikes four years ago led to hundreds of flight cancelations at Germany’s largest airport, particularly on short haul flights.
Public transport, swimming pools, garbage collection, and childcare facilities are also areas that have been targeted by strike action in the latest pay dispute.
A third round of pay talks is scheduled for April 15 and 16.
“Employers have not yet put forward an offer. With strikes and industrial action, employees are increasing the pressure on employers to end their blocking tactics,” Verdi boss Frank Bsirske said in a statement.


US trade negotiators to visit China for fresh round of talks

Updated 21 March 2019
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US trade negotiators to visit China for fresh round of talks

  • Washington and Beijing are battling over the final shape of a trade deal
  • American officials are demanding profound changes to Chinese industrial policy

BEIJING: US Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer and Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin will visit China on March 28-29 for a fresh round of talks aimed at resolving the bruising trade war, the Chinese commerce ministry said Thursday.
After their visit, Chinese Vice Premier Liu He will head to the United States in April to continue the negotiations, ministry spokesman Gao Feng said at a press briefing.
Washington and Beijing are battling over the final shape of a trade deal, with American officials demanding profound changes to Chinese industrial policy.
President Donald Trump warned Wednesday that US tariffs on Chinese imports could remain in place for a “substantial period,” dampening hopes that an agreement would see them lifted soon.
Over the last eight months, the United States and China have slapped tariffs on more than $360 billion in two-way goods trade, weighing on the manufacturing sectors in both countries.
On Friday, China’s rubber-stamp parliament approved a foreign investment law to strengthen protections for intellectual property — a central US grievance — but critics said the bill was rammed through without sufficient time for input from businesses.