A two-day warning strike has begun at Munich Airport. This was confirmed by a spokesman for the Verdi union early on Sunday morning. For an estimated 200,000 passengers, this means that they will not be able to use the second largest German airport on Sunday and Monday, contrary to their original travel plans.
The way to work is also difficult for many commuters on Monday: Regional trains and S-Bahn trains are standing still, as are many buses, trams and subways. Hardly anything will work in long-distance rail transport and at most German airports. The reason is joint warning strikes by the Verdi union and the railway and transport union (EVG), who want to fight for higher wages. As part of their respective collective bargaining disputes, they are calling for work stoppages in the railway sector, at airports, on rivers and in municipal ports, as well as in local public transport in seven federal states.
There have never been warning strikes on this scale. The two unions are thus increasing the pressure on the respective employer side. Verdi and the civil servants' association dbb are meeting on Monday for the third round of negotiations for around 2.5 million public sector employees with federal and local government representatives. Both sides are still far apart in their ideas, but an agreement in the days that follow cannot be ruled out.
The EVG ended its first round of negotiations with Deutsche Bahn and 50 other railway companies last Thursday. Particularly in focus: the Deutsche Bahn. The union rejected an initial offer from the state-owned group. The second round of negotiations begins next week. However, the EVG does not want to continue negotiations with the railways until the end of April.
Before that, the union will demonstrate its mobilization potential in the railway sector this Monday. 230,000 employees have been called on a warning strike. Deutsche Bahn has announced that it will stop all long-distance traffic nationwide. Regional and S-Bahn trains are also largely canceled.
Airports and shipping affected
The 24-hour warning strikes will also affect almost all German airports on Monday, but not the capital airport BER. Shipping traffic on waterways and ports will also be severely restricted.
Full streets are also to be expected because Verdi is having local public transport on strike in seven federal states and many people are then likely to switch to cars. Baden-Württemberg, Hesse, Lower Saxony, North Rhine-Westphalia, Rhineland-Palatinate, Saxony and large parts of Bavaria are affected. In several federal states, the truck driving ban was lifted or relaxed for Sunday. Some transports can be brought forward by one day.
The tone between the EVG and the railways has intensified significantly after the warning strike was announced last Thursday. Personnel Director Martin Seiler called the actions "completely exaggerated, unnecessary and disproportionate".
In a letter, Deutsche Bahn asked the EVG to quickly return to the negotiating table. The union called the letter on Friday an "affront to all railway companies" and made allegations: "Deutsche Bahn obviously believes that it is so important that we clear our calendars at short notice and cancel collective bargaining with other railway companies." The union “doesn’t do that under any circumstances”.
The President of the Association of Municipal Employers, Karin Welge, criticized the joint strike by Verdi and EVG. "The striking of local, long-distance and airport traffic is excessive and not only damages the reputation of the public service, but also the reputation of Germany as a location, which depends on mobility," Welge told the "Bild am Sonntag". "We want an agreement in the forthcoming round of negotiations."
Verdi boss Frank Werneke defended the warning strike in the "Bild am Sonntag": "Better a day when nothing moves in Germany and then a wage agreement that is acceptable for the employees than a failure and subsequent weeks of arguments, of which the population ends up being much more affected." Nobody wants an indefinite strike in the public sector. But Werneke also said: "We are capable of a full-scale labor dispute if our demands are not met."