1. Skip to content
  2. Skip to main menu
  3. Skip to more DW sites
An empty train station
Two unions announced the day of action on ThursdayImage: Matthias Rietschel/picture alliance/dpa

Germany: Rail Union boss defends massive strike

Muteti Ngwili
March 24, 2023

German rail union boss Martin Burkert has defended a pending massive strike that will paralyze much of Germany's transport sector next week.


The chief of the EVG (Railway and Transport Union), which is joining the huge Verdi services union  to press for a pay increment for their members amid increasing inflation, on Friday defended the planned action.

Ahead of the one-day strike on Monday,  which is set to shut down rail and other transport services, EVG head Martin Burkert said: "No we are not going too far."

What the union boss said

"It's definitely historic that we have the momentum at the same time that we are in difficult pay talks," Burkert said.

He pleaded for understanding from the traveling public saying, "we know that we will of course affect and impact very many travelers."

Burkert noted that the unions had no other choice now apart from going on strike for their demands to be met.

He also articulated the hope that the employers would pick a lesson from the strike and present a serious offer.

With a huge debate ongoing about the right to strike, the boss described it as a "sharp sword" but insisted that the unions were using it responsibly.

Two Deutche Bahn trains at a station
The planned strike will cripple transport services across GermanyImage: Peter Kneffel/dpa/picture alliance

He compared the relatively few strike days in Germany with other countries. He noted current strike waves in France were political in nature something completely different in Germany.

The two unions are focusing on pay demands and work contracts he said. He also accused the state-owned rail company Deutsche Bahn of making a "fake offer."

A suitable offer for negotiations is expected by the unions in the coming weeks before talks with the employers scheduled for April 24 and 25, he said.

Rail and air hubs hard hit

The planned strike on Monday aims to bring operations to a standstill in all rail traffic and  many airports.

Major hubs in Frankfurt and Munich alongside inland shipping will witness the suspension of normal operations. Major motorways will also be affected by the crippling strike.

According to Deutsche Bahn, there is no way even to run on an emergency timetable for long-distance trains on Monday.

A spokesperson said, "it is no use traveling a short distance with an Intercity or an ICE." This is because the train would have to stop somewhere on its journey since the signal box workers would be on strike, said a company spokesperson in Berlin.

Skip next section DW's Top Story

DW's Top Story

Man and young women walk out of polling station in Turkey
Skip next section More stories from DW
Go to homepage