Germany Train Strike Alert: 3-Day Disruption Looms

Germany faces major travel chaos as train drivers strike for 3 days over pay and hours, starting 10.01.24. Expect widespread disruptions.

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Germany Train Strike Alert: 3-Day Disruption Looms

Germany is bracing itself for significant travel disruptions as train drivers gear up for a three-day strike starting tomorrow, 10th January 2024. This industrial action comes after a tumultuous year of strikes in 2023, signalling a rocky start for German rail travel in 2024. The striking drivers, represented by their union, have cast an overwhelming vote in favour of these open-ended strikes against Deutsche Bahn (DB), Germany's primary national railway operator. At the heart of this strife are demands for reduced working hours—from 38 to 35 per week—without a cut in pay and a substantial wage hike to combat inflation.

The GDL union, championing the drivers' cause, seeks a monthly pay increase of €555 and a one-time bonus of up to €3,000. Despite Deutsche Bahn's offer of an 11% pay rise, the union has deemed it insufficient. The first round of strikes, a 24-hour warning strike, took place on 8th December last year, a common approach in German wage disputes. However, the deadlock persists, with GDL's chairman, Claus Weselsky, announcing the failure of negotiations after just two rounds of talks.

The impending strike will see train drivers halting work from 2 am on Wednesday to 5 pm on Friday, while freight workers will commence their stoppage on Tuesday at 6 pm. Deutsche Bahn has cautioned that their long-distance, regional, and S-Bahn services will face severe disruptions across the nation. The company plans to deploy longer trains on the few operational routes to accommodate as many passengers as possible. However, they have warned that rides cannot be guaranteed and advised against non-essential travel during the strike period.

As Germany's largest employer of train drivers, DB's operations span long-distance passenger trains, including ICE, IC, EC, and Nightjet services, as well as regional and S-Bahn lines. The nationwide strike, coupled with ongoing road blockages due to farmers' protests in some areas, is set to pose a considerable challenge for travellers across Germany. The union chairman has ominously predicted that what lies ahead will be "more powerful, longer, and harder for customers" than any previous industrial actions.

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