Germany faces transport collapse — what’s going on

Germany faces transport collapse — what's going on

German residents and tourists were given just half a day to come up with routes without the use of trains

Tonight, passengers on Germany’s railroads, run by major railroad operator Deutsche Bahn, are in for an unpleasant surprise. On Tuesday afternoon, the GDL machinists’ union decided to hold a two-day nationwide strike. Delays and cancellations are expected all over Germany.

This is reported by DW.

— In the evening of August 10, the drivers of freight trains will go on strike;

— At dawn on Wednesday, passenger train drivers will not go to work;

— The strike will end at 2 am on Friday, August 13.

The reason for the stoppage

The main reason is the failure of negotiations of the unions with the management of Deutsche Bahn, which lasted several months. The train drivers demanded higher wages. However, the management of the Deutsche Bahn operator, affected by the  pandemic and the recent floods, offered the GDL a wage increase in two steps: by 1.5% from January 1, 2022, and by 1.7% from March 1, 2023. The union insisted on almost 4% over two years, according to the Bild newspaper.

“Our people worked just like everyone else. That’s why they are entitled to an adequate wage increase. Railroad workers in our country are fed up,” one union member told the publication.

People’s reactions

German officials and Deutsche Bahn said the unions behaved improperly toward the country’s citizens because they did not give them enough time to change their routes in response to the strike.

There is both criticism and support for the railroad workers on social media.

“Had to cancel my trip to Cologne tomorrow because of #bahnstreik. It’s sad because I wanted to meet a friend I hadn’t seen in 10 years. Anyway, I’m in full solidarity with the workers,” one user wrote on Twitter.

For Germany, this is not the first nationwide strike.

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