| 30 November 2023, Thursday |

Strikes cripple German rail network, four airports

Rail employees throughout Germany went on strike on Friday, bringing national operator Deutsche Bahn’s services to a standstill in the latest in a series of stoppages over compensation in Europe’s largest economy.

The EVG union’s strike was scheduled to last from 3 a.m. (0100 GMT) until 11 a.m., however the rail network was likely to be disrupted throughout the day.

State-owned Deutsche Bahn said all long-distance connections will be suspended until 1 p.m., with only a few commuter trains running.

The EVG, which is negotiating on behalf of 230,000 workers, is seeking a 12% wage increase, or at least an additional 650 euros ($715) per month. Deutsche Bahn has offered 5% and one-off payments of up to 2,500 euros.

Germany has witnessed some of its most disruptive strikes in decades since last year, when the war in Ukraine sent energy and food prices soaring, leading to union pressure for wages to rise in line with living costs.

High inflation has also exacerbated labor problems in sectors like aviation that have faced a difficult transition following the COVID-19 pandemic.

Friday’s transport strike was set to coincide with a walkout at four German airports – Duesseldorf, Hamburg, Cologne Bonn and Stuttgart – by members of the Verdi union.

A strike at the first three locations on Thursday led to around 700 departures being cancelled.

  • Reuters