German railroad workers strike for two days nationwide


Berlin-German railroad workers have been on strike nationwide since Tuesday night, said the head of the GDL union after announcing that 95 percent of its members had voted to support the move. Travelers were warned to anticipate confusion.

Klaus Weselsky, head of the GDL union, said the strike began on all freight trains on Tuesday at 7 pm (Greenwich Mean Time 1700) and from Wednesday 2 am (Greenwich Mean Time 00000) to Friday morning. He told reporters that it would expand to include passenger trains until 2 o’clock.

The union is demanding a 3.2% salary increase and a one-time “coronavirus bonus” of € 600 ($ 703).

Deutsche Bahn, a German railway company, has rejected the request. The company has lost billions of dollars since the pandemic began and due to the destruction or damage of numerous railroad tracks in recent floods.

Deutsche Bahn said that only about a quarter of long-distance trains operate on Wednesdays and Thursdays, giving priority to connections between Berlin and western cities and between Hamburg and Frankfurt. The company said it would encourage passengers to refrain from unnecessary trips and lift coronavirus-related restrictions to allow reservations for all seats.

Many German states are on summer vacation and travelers rely heavily on trains to travel. However, customers who have already purchased a ticket for several days in Germany where the train journey is likely to stop can request a refund.

The GDL Union, which has more than 35,000 members, went on eight national strikes in 2014 and 2015 to push that demand.

In recent negotiations, the larger EVG Railroad Union agreed last year on a contract that would include a 1.5% increase in 2022 and exclude headcount reductions.

The European Union’s competition watchdog will provide € 550 million in state aid for Deutsche Bahn on Tuesday to help the company cover losses from the start of the coronavirus pandemic from March to June 2020. approved.

Associated Press