The way to work is difficult for many commuters on Monday: regional trains and S-Bahn 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. In connection with their respective wage conflicts, 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.
Regular flight operations at Munich Airport were already discontinued on Sunday. Verdi has called for warning strikes in baggage handling and security services until Monday. Around 40 flights had to be canceled on Saturday evening due to a computer glitch. In Frankfurt, the largest German airport before Munich, Lufthansa struggled with technical disruptions in handling on Sunday. There were delays and cancellations in an undisclosed number.
Scope of warning strikes unprecedented
There have never been warning strikes on a scale like Monday's. The two unions are thus increasing the pressure on the 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. The EVG does not want to continue negotiations with the railways in this context 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 traffic also 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 ten federal states, the truck driving ban was relaxed or lifted on Sunday. Some transports could be brought forward by a day.
At the port of Hamburg, the pilot shifters postponed the start of their warning strike by twelve hours to Monday, 6 a.m. Pilot shifters are responsible for bringing the pilots to and from the ships. Large ships are not allowed to navigate the Elbe without a pilot.
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.
Municipalities: Unions exaggerate excessively
The chief negotiator for the municipalities, Karin Welge, accused the unions of excessively exaggerating with the warning strikes. "The right to strike is being exhausted in an inflationary manner," said the President of the Association of Municipal Employers' Associations (VKA) of the dpa in Berlin. A result should be achieved in the third round. The escalation of the unions makes them "a bit angry," said Welge.
According to a Yougov survey, a majority of people in Germany view the all-day warning strike with understanding. Around 55 percent of those surveyed consider the joint rejection by Verdi and EVG to be "rather" or "completely" justified. 38 percent find the action "rather not" or "not at all" justified, eight percent gave no answer. The German Press Agency commissioned the survey.