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German union announces nationwide rail strike for Friday

Published April 19, 2023last updated April 19, 2023

Rail workers are again set to go on strike across Germany after a key transport union said its pay increase demands have not been met.

Trains waiting in a depot during a previous strike
German rail union EVG has called for another round of strikesImage: Peter Kneffel/dpa/picture alliance

Germany's rail workers union EVG announced on Wednesday that it would hold a day-long strike on Friday across the country.

The strike, which will last from 3 a.m. (0100 GMT) to 11 a.m. (0900 GMT), will affect some 50 companies, including national rail operator Deutsche Bahn.

"The fact that we have to take this course of action is entirely the responsibility of the management who have so far refused to negotiate constructively," the union said.

Why are German transport workers striking?

EVG has been pursuing a 12% pay increase, or a minimum of €650 ($712) per month, for its 230,000 members amid rising inflation and cost of living.

Deutsche Bahn has offered a 5% wage increase, along with a one-off payment of €2,500.

Inflation in Germany fell to 7.4% in March, down from a peak of 8.8% in October. EVG said a pay rise was necessary due to the "financial burdens that have increased sharply."

'Not a single train will run'

Deutsche Bahn described Friday's strike as "completely useless and unnecessary."

The head of human resources at Deutsche Bahn, Martin Seiler, accused the union of calling the strike as a means of competing with another rail union, the GDL, saying it was purely a "membership advertising campaign."

Friday's strike comes ahead of a third round of negotiations and EVG is hoping to increase the pressure on Deutsche Bahn specifically.

Across Germany, "Not a single train will run," EVG chief negotiator Cosima Ingenschay said.

Wave of strikes continue

A previous 24-hour strike at the end of March, coordinated with other major union Verdi, brought much fo the country to a standstill as planes, trains and buses were were left empty.

Verdi has also called for strikes at three airports on Thursday and Friday. Hamburg airport has already announced that all flights will be canceled for those days, affecting some 80,000 passengers.

Düsseldorf and Bonn/Cologne airports will also be hit by the strike.

EVG collective bargaining chairperson Kristian Loroch said that EVG and Verdi had not coordinated their industrial action this time and that it was just a coincidence that their strikes were falling on the same day.

ab/nm (Reuters, AFP, dpa)