Union calls new public transport strike in Germany


The main union representing public transport workers in Germany has called for renewed bus, tram and underground strikes across the country, heaping further woes on travellers.

Verdi, which represents 90,000 workers in the sector, called on a “strike wave from Feb. 26 to March 2”.

Services in each state would be halted on different days, with local employees deciding on the length of the strikes.

The main day of the walkout will be March 1.

It’s the latest industrial action to hit Europe’s largest economy, which has faced repeated walkouts on local public transport, long-distance trains and airports since late 2022.

Workers are pushing for higher salaries and improved conditions as soaring inflation erodes real wages.

In its negotiations with transport bosses, Verdi is seeking a reduction in working hours, increased holiday entitlement and other benefits.

Transport workers represented by the union had already staged a strike on Feb. 2, but negotiations since then had “not produced any results,” said the union’s deputy chairwoman Christine Behle.

“We have not yet achieved a real breakthrough anywhere.”

A labor shortage in public transport is imposing greater pressure on staff, which urgently needs to be relieved, she said.

Strikes will take place in all German states except Bavaria.

The latest strike to hit the German transport sector came earlier this week, when ground staff at airline Lufthansa staged a one-day walkout.

While some sectors in Germany received hefty pay rises last year, tensions with employers remain high as inflation has persisted.

Unions’ bargaining power has been strengthened by serious labor shortages, but bosses are pushing back against demands at a time when the German economy is stumbling.

The government this week slashed its growth forecast for 2024 to 0.2 percent from 1.3 percent previously, warning the economy was in “rough waters.”__Daily Hurriyet