Long-distance and regional public transport almost completely stopped in Germany on Monday due to a joint warning strike by several trade unions.
The day-long work stoppage caused severe disruption across the country. The Deutsche Bahn (DB) railway company has canceled all its long-distance flights, and regional flights are not running in many places. Traffic has also stopped at most airports, the few exceptions include the Berlin-Brandenburg International Airport (BER), which serves the capital and its region, but where all domestic flights had to be canceled.
Local public transport was also paralyzed in seven of the sixteen provinces, including the most populous province, North Rhine-Westphalia.
The 24-hour strike by the largest employee representation of the service sector, the Ver.di trade union and the railway and transport workers’ union (EVG), also affects the highway operating companies and the water and shipping administrations.
With the work stoppage, ver.di further increases the pressure exerted on the employer side in the ongoing negotiations on the collective agreement for the approximately 2.3 million employees working in the public sector.
With a strike covering the entire transport sector, “we will make it unmistakably clear to the employer that the employees are clearly behind our demands”, stated Frank Werneke, the head of Ver.di, on Monday morning in Potsdam, where the third round of negotiations is being held.
Ver.di is demanding a wage increase of 10.5 percent and at least 500 euros. For the time being, the employer side offers a 5 percent wage increase and a one-time payment of 2,500 euros. The trade union association is using the tool of the warning strike for the third time in the negotiation process that started in February. The interest representation with 1.8 million members called 120,000 workers to stop work on Monday.
Joining Ver.di’s actions for the first time, EVG called the entire membership, 230 thousand people, on strike. The trade union is negotiating with more than fifty transport companies – including DB and several regional railway companies – but the first round did not bring any results. His central demand is a wage increase of 650 euros that applies equally to all employees.
Main picture: canva.com