The public transport warning strikes began early Friday morning in several cities. Among other things, subways and trams in Frankfurt remained in the depots, said Thomas Heimbürger from the Verdi trade union to the German Press Agency. The warning strikes were also started in other Hessian cities. Overall, there should be massive impairments in local bus and train transport in six federal states. In addition to Hesse, the main areas affected are North Rhine-Westphalia, Baden-Württemberg, Saxony, Lower Saxony and Rhineland-Palatinate.
The action is to take place together with the climate activists from Fridays for Future, who have called for protests for more climate protection on Friday. In Lower Saxony, for example, but also in Munich, there were severe restrictions on local public transport on Thursday. In Bavaria, Verdi wants to extend the warning strikes to other regions and cities on Friday. Many citizens have been feeling the effects of warning strikes in the public sector for weeks. Verdi and the civil servants' association dbb want to underpin their demands in the current wage round for the municipalities and the federal government.
The negotiations for the approximately 2.5 million federal and local employees had been tough since they started in January. Verdi and the civil servants' association dbb are demanding 10.5 percent more income, but at least 500 euros more per month. In the second round of negotiations last week, despite an offer from the employers, there was still no rapprochement. The probably crucial third round is scheduled for the end of March. Verdi boss Frank Werneke had already said that a ballot on a regular strike was "on the agenda" if the third round didn't bring a breakthrough.
There are likely to be significant outages in many cities. In the southwest, for example, Stuttgart, Freiburg, Mannheim, Heilbronn, Ulm, Esslingen, Constance, Baden-Baden and Karlsruhe are affected. In Stuttgart, however, there are S-Bahn trains because they are operated by Deutsche Bahn.
Buses and trains are also expected to stand still in the largest cities in North Rhine-Westphalia. According to Verdi, the focus will be on the Ruhr area and the Rhineland, but employees also want to lay down their jobs in the Münsterland and in East Westphalia.
Violent criticism of Verdi came from the Confederation of German Employers' Associations (BDA). They accused the union of their cooperation with Fridays for Future. This is "a dangerous border crossing," said BDA chief executive Steffen Kampeter of the German Press Agency in Berlin. "Strikes are allowed to reach collective agreements that regulate working conditions." But anyone who mixes labor disputes and general political goals quickly finds themselves on a playing field beyond German collective bargaining autonomy. Political or quasi-political strikes are illegal in Germany