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German court allows train drivers to go ahead with strike

January 10, 2024

Train drivers in Germany will go on strike Wednesday through Friday after a court rejected an injunction sought by Deutsche Bahn. Millions of passengers will be affected.

An empty high-speed ICE train at an abandoned platform at Hanover's main train station
Millions of train customers will again be forced to cancel travel plans or find alternative transportationImage: Julian Stratenschulte/dpa/picture alliance

The State Labor Court of Hesse on Tuesday rejected a temporary injunction sought by German rail operator Deutsche Bahn (DB), meaning train drivers can go ahead with a planned nationwide strike that will take place between 2 a.m. (0100 GMT) Wednesday and at least 6 p.m. (1700 GMT) Friday.

The Frankfurt-based State Labor Court ruling upheld a prior lower court decision.

The strike is expected to create major disruptions, affecting millions of passengers, as DB will be forced to run on a heavily reduced emergency timetable. The new timetable is available online, yet the vast majority of customers will be forced to cancel travel or find alternative transportation.

The strike, called by the train drivers' union GDL, will also involve cargo train drivers, who will strike from Tuesday until Friday.

Some 80% of all long-distance trains were cancelled in two recent GDL strikes. Regional carriers were also affected, as some — especially in eastern and southwestern Germany — are affiliated with the GDL.

The GDL has been in contentious negotiations with DB and other carriers since early November. The drivers' union is calling for better wages while at the same time demanding a reduction in work from 38 down to 35 hours a week.

Deutsche Bahn, however, has called the work reduction a non-starter, saying it is already short-staffed on that front and is unwilling to reduce hours.

Germany looks abroad to attract labor

js/lo (dpa, Reuters)

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