Commuters and travelers throughout Germany will have to prepare for far-reaching restrictions on rail, air and local transport as well as on waterways next Monday. With a large-scale nationwide warning strike, the railway and transport union (EVG) and Verdi want to paralyze large parts of public transport on the day, as both organizations announced on Thursday in Berlin. “There will be severe delays throughout Germany, including the transport services in all the areas mentioned coming to a standstill,” it said.
The long-distance, regional and S-Bahn transport of Deutsche Bahn and other railway companies are affected by the unprecedented warning strike. Verdi is also calling for work stoppages at several airports and in local public transport in the federal states of Hesse, North Rhine-Westphalia, Baden-Württemberg, Saxony, Lower Saxony, Rhineland-Palatinate and Bavaria. The highway company is also said to be on strike, as is the water and shipping administration.
According to the EVG, the railway companies Transdev, AKN, Osthannoversche Eisenbahnen, erixx, vlexx, eurobahn and Die Länderbahn are affected on the rails in addition to Deutsche Bahn. "The all-day strike usually begins on the night of March 26/27 at 00:00 and ends at 24:00," both unions said. Deutsche Bahn will therefore stop all long-distance traffic nationwide on Monday. Even in regional traffic, "mostly no trains will run," said the group.
According to the unions, the warning strikes at airports affect negotiations for public sector employees on the one hand, local negotiations for ground handling employees on the other and nationwide negotiations for aviation security employees on the other. In view of this, there will be no regular passenger traffic at Frankfurt Airport on Monday. "All tasks that enable full flight operations" were suspended due to the warning strike, the operating company Fraport announced on Thursday. Due to the warning strikes announced next Sunday and Monday, there will also be no regular passenger and freight traffic at Munich Airport.
With the actions, Verdi is increasing the pressure for the third round of negotiations with the federal and local governments, which begins on Monday. Together with the civil servants' association dbb, the union for the public sector is demanding 10.5 percent and at least 500 euros more wages. The employers submitted an offer in the second round of negotiations at the end of February. Among other things, it includes a pay increase of five percent in two steps and one-off payments totaling 2,500 euros.
At the end of February, the EVG began negotiations with Deutsche Bahn and around 50 other railway companies. The union had rejected an initial offer from Deutsche Bahn last week. She demands at least 650 euros more wages. In the case of higher wages, she is aiming for an increase of twelve percent with a term of the collective agreement of twelve months. Among other things, Deutsche Bahn had offered to raise the wages of the approximately 180,000 employees affected by a total of 5 percent in two steps and several one-off payments totaling 2,500 euros.
The President of the Association of Municipal Employers' Associations (VKA), Karin Welge, has severely criticized the comprehensive traffic strike. "Such a strike day is not ok in a situation in which demand and offer are still apart, but the third round of negotiations is imminent," said Welge on Thursday in Berlin. "The unions should be careful not to overdo it."
Local and long-distance transport as well as airports all over Germany were struck more than 30 years ago in the course of a strike that lasted several weeks. During this hard industrial dispute in the public service in the spring of 1992, several hundred thousand employees temporarily stopped working. However, this was a regular industrial action, not a warning strike.