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German union announces more public transport strikes

Published February 22, 2024last updated February 22, 2024

Local trams and buses will not run during parts of next week across Germany. The main walkout day will be March 1, to coincide with a climate strike event planned by environmentalist group Fridays for Future.

A man walks past yellow buses of the BVG Berlin transport authority parked at a depot in Berlin
The industrial action backed by labor union Verdi will see the cancellation of buses and trams in all German federal states, except for BavariaImage: Sean Gallup/Getty Images

Local public transport workers in Germany are planning to strike on different days next week in all states, except Bavaria, the trade union Verdi announced on Thursday. It said that March 1 will be the main strike day. 

"In individual federal states, strikes will take place on different days during this period — mainly all day and mostly lasting several days," Verdi said.

Verdi's deputy head Christine Behle said the lack of progress in the collective bargaining negotiations prompted the union to call for another round of strikes.

"In order to finally get the negotiations moving, renewed pressure must now be exerted on the employers," she underlined. "That is why we are calling on employees to take concerted strike action."

Legitimate strikes in wage disputes

What are the workers' demands?

Verdi, which represents some 90,000 transport workers at around 130 municipal transit agencies, is urging better working conditions for public transport employees.

Also among the demands are reduced weekly working hours and increased holiday entitlements.

Staff in Bavaria are also part of the negotiations but remain under contract and cannot take part in the strikes.

The workers have already staged several rounds of strikes in recent weeks amid tense collective bargaining talks.

Climate group Fridays for Future  Germany has expressed support for the industrial action and said it will also stage demonstrations on March 1, demanding more action on climate change and greater investment in public transit.

6-day train strike paralyzes rail transport in Germany

What's behind the wave of strikes?

Germany has been hit recently by repeated strikes in the transport sector.

In January, the GDL train drivers' union staged a series of multi-day strikes to demand lower working hours and higher wages in contract negotiations with the national railway operator Deutsche Bahn.

Airport security and ground staff have also held several rounds of work stoppages, paralyzing many of the country's largest airports.

sri/wd,nm (dpa, Reuters)