07.07.2022, Hessen, Frankfurt/Main: Passagiere warten auf dem Flughafen in Frankfurt am Main auf ihren Check-In. Seit Wochen kommt es aufgrund von Personalmangel an sämtlichen deutschen Flughäfen zu teils chaotischen Szenen. Foto: Boris Roessler/dpa +++ dpa-Bildfunk +++

Everyone agrees on the description of the situation, the working title of this Bundestag debate is “Chaos at the airports – recruitment of workers”. But opinions differ widely on the measures and the question of guilt that day in the plenary session.

The Union, which has been reluctant to push the immigration of skilled workers for years, accuses the traffic light coalition, which has only been in power for eight months, of having provoked the crisis by doing nothing.

“Germany is in the queue,” says CDU MP Marc Biadacz. You wait at the check-in counter, for workers, for the train. And then, in such an important debate, neither Transport Minister Volker Wissing (FDP), nor Labor Minister Hubertus Heil (SPD) or Interior Minister Nancy Faeser (SPD) are there, Biadacz is ecstatic.

There is an objection from the government bank, because that is where Wissing sits. “Hello Mr. Wissing, then I overlooked you,” says the CDU politician.

The Union faction is calling for an immediate program to deal with the shortage of workers and skilled workers and an air travel summit, although the traffic light coalition rejects the application because various levers have long been set in motion.

But the fundamental question remains as to how the shortage of staff in rail transport, gastronomy, nursing and other areas can be quickly and permanently remedied. Due to the pandemic, many workers have migrated, and there are currently many corona failures.

One thing is clear: it won’t work without better wages, and flying shouldn’t remain so cheap. And it needs an overall strategy.

For example, the Berlin Airport BER expects the busiest day of the summer holidays this Friday with the start of the holidays. The service providers for passenger and baggage checks want to hire more staff to ensure reliable processing.

“We have between 90 and 95 percent of the staff that we had on board at the end of 2019 on board again,” said the President of the Federal Association of Aviation Security Companies, Udo Hansen.

In principle, this is enough staff given that traffic is still around 70 percent of the pre-corona level. Nevertheless, there have been chaotic scenes, flight cancellations and annoyed customers for weeks. The search and training took several months, stresses Hansen.

Lufthansa has announced that it will only cancel 900 flights in July, emphasized CDU MP Biadacz in the Bundestag debate. “There is a shortage of more than 7,200 skilled workers at German airports.” An additional 400,000 skilled workers are needed nationwide every year. Who has ruled for 16 years, is called out to him from the plenum.

The SPD deputy Hakan Demir appealed to the responsibility of the private airport operators and called for a higher minimum wage of at least 14.25 euros for temporary workers deployed there. He tells of his grandfather, who helped to build up the country as a guest worker. It is right to recruit skilled workers from Turkey now at short notice.

The Federal Employment Agency has given the green light to recruit 2,000 airport workers from Turkey. However, the special regulation only applies to employment contracts that end on November 6th at the latest. Only employees who have already worked at airports in Turkey may be hired; they are to be used primarily in baggage handling.

The federal government is now also planning a simplified immigration of workers from abroad for the hospitality industry. The increased use of the unemployed is also being examined.

AfD MP Dirk Brandes accuses Interior Minister Faeser of creating a security risk at airports with the Turkey solution. “These are absurd ideas from Mrs. Faeser’s think tank.” Why not use 1,000 long-term unemployed people for baggage handling?

The Greens politician Beate Müller-Gemmeke points to an additional problem arising from the situation: too few workers would have to process too many passengers. This increased workload leads to more absenteeism. The ground staff used to be employed by the airlines, but today almost everything is outsourced. “These are really backbreaking jobs,” emphasizes left-wing politician Pascal Meiser.

The former Federal Minister Julia Klöckner (CDU) primarily attacks the FDP, which is responsible for the transport department, because the situation is also difficult on the railways. The FDP agreed that the 9-euro ticket was introduced overnight without the staff and infrastructure being prepared for it.

The excessive demands lead to even more staff shortages: “Thank you, FDP.” An FDP MP countered whether Klöckner had heard of the word demography, for example? The Union approached the issue blindly and for years did not take sufficient care of measures against the impending shortage and never slowed down.

There are 1.74 million vacancies – but the trend in unemployment is also rising, how could that be? Asks Klöckner again. “Better control for competitive business in times of crisis” is needed quickly from the traffic light instead of constant hectic interim and transitional solutions.