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Strikes impact German rail network, five airports

April 21, 2023

A morning nationwide rail strike coincided with walkouts at five German airports. The EVG union representing railway workers is seeking a 12% wage increase.

Berlin central station with empty train tracks
A strike by railway workers has brought Deutsche Bahn's services to a haltImage: Jochen Eckel/picture alliance

Rail workers went on strike in Germany on Friday, with workers demanding a rise in pay to match inflation.

The rail strike was organized by the EVG union, which represents railway workers.

The work stoppage is set to coincide with a strike at the airports in Düsseldorf, Hamburg, Cologne/Bonn, Karlsruhe/Baden-Baden and Stuttgart organized by the Verdi union.

The strike forced the cancellation of some 700 flights at three of the airports on Thursday and spread to others on Friday.

Frankfurt International Airport was reported to be unaffected.

What do we know about the rail workers' strike?

The rail strike began at 3 a.m. and ended at 11 a.m. local time (0100 to 0900 UTC/GMT), although train services nationwide were expected to face disruptions for the rest of the day.

Germany's national rail company, Deutsche Bahn, said all its long-distance connections and most commuter trains would be canceled until 1 p.m.

The EVG is negotiating on behalf of 230,000 workers and is seeking a 12% wage increase, or at least an additional €650 ($715) per month.

Deutsche Bahn has put forth a pay increase of 5%, as well as one-off payments of up to €2,500.

EVG said the strike aims to push employers to "finally make a negotiable offer."

The two sides are due to hold their next round of talks on Tuesday.

Latest in a series of strikes

Germany has witnessed some of its most disruptive strikes in decades over the past several months.

High inflation, triggered by the war in Ukraine and the COVID-19 pandemic, has exacerbated labor problems in sectors such as aviation.

On Thursday, a Verdi-organized strike at the airports in Düsseldorf, Hamburg and Cologne/Bonn led to around 700 departures being canceled.

Late last month, EVG and Verdi organized walkouts that lasted 24 hours and involved around 350,000 workers.

mm, sdi/sms (Reuters, AFP)

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