Germany is on the verge of facing a new wave of transportation strikes. – MPI

Germany is on the verge of facing a new wave of transportation strikes.

Trains in Germany are known for their efficiency, punctuality, and extensive rail network. They connect large and small cities across the country, as well as offer international services to destinations throughout Europe.


In addition to high-speed trains, there are regional trains serving remote areas and smaller cities. These trains provide a convenient option for traveling within German regions, providing access to areas that may not be served by high-speed services.

Trains in Germany are considered one of the most comfortable and environmentally friendly ways to travel through the country. Many railway stations are modern and well-equipped, offering a variety of amenities to passengers, such as shops, restaurants, and comfortable waiting areas.

The punctuality of trains in Germany is generally high, making trains a popular choice for both business and leisure travel within the country, as well as for international travel to nearby destinations.

As announced by unions representing Lufthansa ground staff and Deutsche Bahn train drivers on Monday (04), strikes, which come amid impasses in wage negotiations and inflation compensation, promise to disrupt the operations of the airline and railway operator throughout the week.

Lufthansa ground staff are planning a two-day strike starting this Thursday, marking the fourth strike in a few weeks, following three in February. The German union Ver.di accused the company of unwillingness to present an improved proposal in negotiations. According to the union, the strike is expected to impact passenger services from early Thursday morning until Saturday morning. Lufthansa warned that about 200,000 customers would be affected. The last strike by ground staff occurred less than a week ago, when technical staff and training units also stopped work but had no impact on passenger travel.

A one-day strike in February affected about 100,000 passengers, with between 80% and 90% of flights canceled. Ver.di’s chief negotiator with Lufthansa described the large number of affected people as regrettable, stating that the company practically ignores negotiation requests, indicating that it will only act under greater pressure. In turn, Lufthansa’s head of human resources, Michael Niggemann, said the company has repeatedly improved its proposal and accused the union of deliberately seeking escalation instead of a solution.

Ver.di is demanding a 12.5% ​​wage increase and a bonus to offset inflation over a year, while Lufthansa has offered a 10% wage increase for a period of 28 months. The next round of negotiations is scheduled for March 13 and 14. Germany is experiencing a series of strikes in various sectors, including public transportation (regional and long-distance trains, subways, trams, and urban buses). Workers, affected by inflation in recent years and the COVID-19 pandemic, are demanding higher wages to cope with the rising cost of living.

Train drivers are preparing for a “wave of strikes” in the dispute between German train operator Deutsche Bahn and the GDL railway workers’ union. A new 35-hour strike is scheduled to begin Wednesday afternoon. In addition to a salary increase to cope with the rising cost of living, train drivers are seeking a reduction in the workweek from 38 to 35 hours without loss of pay. Claus Weselsky, head of the GDL, stated that negotiations with the company have failed. In turn, Deutsche Bahn stated that it has made concessions, offering a 13% salary increase, in addition to the possibility of reducing the weekly hours by one hour starting in 2026.

Freight trains will be interrupted on Wednesday evening, while passenger trains will stop running at 2 a.m. on Thursday, local time. Claus Weselsky, of the GDL, stated that the first strike will last 35 hours so that the entire nation feels the impact of the situation, adding that other stoppages will follow. He announced the start of the “wave of strikes,” explaining that new stoppages will be decided “when we deem it appropriate,” without further 48-hour notice as usual. This, according to him, will make trains less reliable as a means of transportation.

In turn, Deutsche Bahn’s human resources director, Martin Seiler, criticized the GDL’s announcement, accusing the union of being “stubborn and selfish” in persisting with demands considered unattainable.

Extended rail strikes in January have already affected thousands of passengers and increased pressure on the supply chain, already hampered by the crisis in the Middle East and the war in Ukraine. According to Deutsche Bahn, each day of strike costs the German economy an eight-digit figure.

Train strikes and other transportation stoppages can cause a range of problems, affecting not only passengers but also the economy and logistics in general. Some of the key issues include:

  1. Impact on passengers: Train strikes cause significant disruptions for passengers, who may be unable to get to work, miss important appointments, or face delays in planned travel.
  2. Economic loss: Interruptions to rail services directly impact the economy, especially in countries where rail transport plays a significant role in moving goods and connecting cities and regions. Companies relying on rail transport for the supply of raw materials or distribution of products may suffer significant financial losses due to delays or interruptions in deliveries.
  3. Pressure on other modes of transport: When trains stop running, demand for other modes of transport such as buses, cars, and planes increases. This can lead to traffic congestion on roads, overcrowding at airports, and higher ticket prices.
  4. Impact on the supply chain: Disruptions to rail services can cause delays in the delivery of goods, impairing the efficiency of the supply chain and affecting companies in various sectors, from retail to manufacturing.
  5. Labor and social tensions: Train strikes often reflect disputes between workers and companies on issues such as wages, working conditions, and job security. These conflicts can increase social and political tensions and result in long-term negative impacts on labor relations.

In summary, the problems associated with train strikes are extensive and can have significant consequences for passengers, businesses, and the economy as a whole.

Danielle Berry
Danielle Berry

an editor at MPI since 2023.


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