Unions want to paralyze traffic in Germany

Berlin A major strike by the Verdi and EVG unions on the train, bus and airports started on Monday night. With a 24-hour industrial dispute, they want to largely paralyze public transport in many regions of Germany and thus increase the pressure on employers in collective bargaining.

Millions of commuters and travelers are affected. Local public transport is on strike in seven federal states, as are airports and nationwide regional and long-distance rail transport. Deutsche Bahn stops long-distance traffic for Monday. In the regional and S-Bahn traffic, at least from the beginning of the strike, no trains should run. According to DB, whether individual connections will be started in regional traffic in the afternoon depends on the course of the strike.

Verdi has called around 120,000 employees in the transport and infrastructure sector to a labor dispute – including in municipal ports, at locks, in the water and shipping administration and at the motorway company. With the exception of the capital airport BER, airports in Germany are practically paralysed.

The two largest airports in Frankfurt and Munich, like many others, have stopped regular passenger traffic. There was already a strike at the airport in the Bavarian state capital on Sunday, and all of the originally planned 1,500 connections were canceled on both days. According to the Federal Association of the German Aviation Industry (BDL), 380,000 passengers nationwide are affected by the industrial action on Monday.

The railway and transport union (EVG) is negotiating for around 230,000 employees at 50 train and bus companies, for whom they want twelve percent more wages, but at least 650 euros more per month. Verdi is negotiating for the approximately 2.5 million public sector employees at the federal and local governments, including those working in local transport and at airports.

The union demands 10.5 percent more, but at least 500 euros a month. “For many thousands of employees, it is a question of existence whether there are decent salary increases,” said Verdi boss Frank Werneke of “Bild am Sonntag”. He spoke of the biggest strike since 1992. The next round of negotiations is planned for Monday to Wednesday in Potsdam.

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The German district association expects difficult wage negotiations because of the major strike. “Such demonstrations of power during ongoing negotiations clearly overshoot the target,” said the President, District Administrator Reinhard Sager (CDU), the editorial network Germany (RND). The German Association of Towns and Municipalities warned of a financial overload on the municipalities and predicted higher burdens for the citizens.

Association general manager Gerd Landsberg told the “Bild” (Monday) that many municipalities would have to raise garbage fees or property taxes. In addition, many municipalities could invest less money in the renovation of school buildings in the future.

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