Railway workers' strike disrupts travel across Germany
All long-distance and commuter trains in Germany are parked in depots
Railway workers have sought a salary hike and a coronavirus bonus
Deutsche Bahn, the railway operator, has rejected the workers’ demands
Railway workers in Germany are on a nationwide strike and have brought the long-distance and commuter train systems across the country to a standstill on Wednesday. The railway workers’ union demands a 3.2% salary increase and a one-time “coronavirus bonus” of £600.
Deutsche Bahn, a train operator said that only a quarter of the long-distance trains would run on Thursday and Friday due to the two-day strike. The company has urged passengers to avoid unnecessary travel and said that it would lift pandemic-related curbs and allow all seats to be booked.
The strike was started by GDL union members on Tuesday night. GDL members said that 95% workers had voted to press for their demand for a salary hike. Deutsche Bahn has rejected the workers’ demands. The company said that it has lost billions during the COVID-19 pandemic and the recent floods in Germany destroyed or damaged numerous railroad tracks.
Children had to packed into buses and trains to get them to school and vacationers had to scramble to revise their travel plans at the last minute on account of the strike. Eleven of Germany’s 16 states are on summer vacation and travellers have been relying on mainly the railway network to get around.
Deutsche Bahn announced that customers who have already booked their tickets will be able to claim refunds. The company said that priority would be given to networks between Berlin and cities in the western parts of the country, as well as Hamburg and Frankfurt during the strike.
In Berlin, where schools reopened on Monday, children ran late on Wednesday because most of the capital’s S-Bahn trains were not running and streets were jammed as people were trying to get to work in cars because of the railway strike.
With inputs from AP