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There is likely to be widespread travel chaos across Germany early next week, after two of the country’s biggest transport unions called a nationwide strike. It is set to be the biggest strikes the country has seen in 30 years.
The Verdi service workers’ union and the EVG union, which represents many rail workers, announced the walkout.
It is rare for unions to join forces like this in Germany. The mass strike follows a series of failed talks with employers in recent weeks.
“We think there will be extensive participation in the strike,” Verdi chief Frank Werneke told a press conference.
This is just strike planned in Europe, for details on other countries, read this article.
When is the strike?
Officially, the strike will start at midnight in the early hours of Monday and last all day Monday.
However, some airports have already cancelled flights scheduled to arrive or depart on Sunday.
The effects are likely to last into Tuesday, with some operators already cancelling services on that day too.
Which airports and train stations will be affected by the strike?
Of course no one knows how many workers will not turn up to work on Monday.
But the strike is nationwide and the unions involved represent the majority of the transport workforce. Verdi represents more than 2.5 million public sector employees, while EVG represents workers on the railways and at bus companies.
It’s worth noting that Verdi and EVG do not have a big presence in Hamburg and Bremen so they are less likely to be affected.
Below are the details of the operators who have already announced disruption. This article will be updated if more announcements are made.
How will trains be affected?
German rail operator Deutsche Bahn announced yesterday that no long distance trains will run on Monday, with “numerous trains” also being cancelled on Tuesday. They have urged passengers due to travel on Monday to postpone their trip to the next day if possible.
In a statement they said, “This will affect all German rail operations, as employees from all areas of Deutsche Bahn and other rail companies have been called on to walk out…the long-distance traffic of Deutsche Bahn is therefore completely discontinued.”
“According to statements by the union, the first effects of employees striking are possible as early as Sunday evening. Also on Tuesday numerous trains will be canceled due to the after-effects of the strike,” it added.
DB has announced that it’s also not operating any long-distance trains on Monday and that most regional trains will also be offline for the day.
Furthermore, because of how some of the relevant shifts are affected, DB says some trains might already be taken offline on Sunday evening, so travellers should take care to arrive at their destination on Sunday with plenty of time to spare – by late afternoon to be safe.
On top of that, some trains could be cancelled Tuesday due to knock-on effects.
Workers with Transdev, AKN, Osthannoversche Eisenbahnen, erixx, vlexx, eurobahn, and the Länderbahn are also affected.
That means that in addition to Deutsche Bahn, which runs services like the commuter S-Bahn and regional trains in German cities, local transport will be disrupted in seven of Germany’s sixteen federal states. These include some of the country’s most populous states: Bavaria, Baden-Württemberg, Hesse, Lower Saxony, North Rhine-Westphalia, Rhineland-Palatinate, and Saxony.
Will flights be cancelled?
Germany’s busiest airport, Frankfurt Airport, said it was canceling all flights on Monday.
“All tasks that enable full flight operations are suspended due to the strike,” the airport’s operating company Fraport announced.
Munich Airport, the country’s second-busiest hub, has announced that there will be no passenger flights at all on Sunday and Monday.
Stuttgart and Bremen airports have also cancelled all flights – both taking off and landing – with more airports likely to follow.
Düsseldorf Airport is warning passengers to expect serious disruptions, and to keep hand luggage to a minimum to help ease security delays in the unlikely event your flight is still running.
Why are transport workers walking out?
Like in many other countries, Germans are struggling with surging inflation after Russia’s invasion of Ukraine sent food and energy costs soaring.
Verdi is engaged in a series of pay negotiations, iseeking a 10.5% pay raise. Employers have offered a total of 5% in two stages plus one-time payments of €2,500.
EVG is seeking a raise of 12%. Deutsche Bahn, Germany’s main railway operator, has also offered a two-stage raise totaling 5% plus one-time payments.
Germany’s annual inflation rate in February was 8.7%.