An airline employee walks between barrier tapes past a check-in counter during a strike at the airport of Duesseldorf, western Germany, on April 20, 2023. (PHOTO / AFP)
BERLIN – Rail workers went on strike across Germany on Friday, bringing national operator Deutsche Bahn's services largely to a halt, in the latest of a series of stoppages over pay in Europe's largest economy.
The walkout, organized by the EVG union, was due to run from 3 a.m. (0100 GMT) to 11 a.m, though the train network was expected to be impacted for the whole day.
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State-owned Deutsche Bahn said all its long-distance connections would be cancelled until 1 p.m. and that few commuter trains would run.
Aviation security staff organized in the public transport sector for a demonstration during a strike at the airport of Duesseldorf, western Germany, on April 20, 2023. (PHOTO / AFP)
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.
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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 exacerbated labor problems in sectors like aviation that have faced a difficult transition following COVID-19
High inflation has also exacerbated labor problems in sectors like aviation that have faced a difficult transition following the COVID-19 pandemic.
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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.