Germany is threatened with a traffic heart attack on Monday
Dusseldorf, Frankfurt, Berlin The traffic in Germany should largely come to a standstill next Monday. The reason for this is the call for strikes by several trade unions in overlapping collective bargaining conflicts. In addition to local transport, the Deutsche Bahn, Airports and highways affected.
“There will be severe delays throughout Germany, including the transport services in all the areas mentioned,” said the railway and transport union (EVG) and earnings on Thursday in Berlin. The strike is scheduled to begin Monday night and end at midnight. “This strike day will have a massive impact,” said earnings– Boss Frank Werneke.
The long-distance, regional and S-Bahn traffic of Deutsche Bahn and numerous private railway companies are affected. In the meantime, Deutsche Bahn has announced that it will discontinue all long-distance traffic nationwide. There are almost no trains in regional traffic.
Verdi is also calling for work stoppages at several airports and on bus and train services in cities and communities in Hesse, North Rhine-Westphalia, Baden-Württemberg, Saxony, Lower Saxony, Rhineland-Palatinate and Bavaria.
There will be no regular passenger traffic at Frankfurt Airport on Monday, and air traffic will be suspended in Munich on Sunday and Monday. This was announced by the airport operator. According to the airport association ADV, up to 380,000 passengers could be affected by the strikes by airport staff.
Motorways are also affected
Also the highway company should be on strike, as well as the water and shipping administration. The highway company is organized as a private limited company, but pays its employees based on the collective agreement of the public sector.
Should employees in the nine traffic control centers, who are responsible for monitoring traffic in tunnels, among other things, become involved on a larger scale, there could also be a threat of tunnels on motorways being closed.
>> Read here: The concerted strike action is legal but not legitimate – one comment
“We will take a look at certain tunnels,” said Verdi Deputy Christine Behle on Thursday in Berlin. Verdi cannot yet say specifically which tunnels are affected. However, certain tunnels would be closed “through which you can not actually drive, for example the Elbe tunnel” in Hamburg.
The chairman of the railway and transport union (EVG), Martin Burkert, recommends reaching your destination as early as possible on Sunday. “Because there can definitely be shifts that go into Monday from Sunday evening,” he said when announcing the joint industrial action with the Verdi union in Berlin.
Coordination ensures strike power
Even if the individual collective bargaining conflicts have nothing to do with each other, the coordination of the strike activities unfolds with great force. On the one hand, it is about the collective bargaining round in the public sector. Verdi and the civil servants’ association are demanding 10.5 percent more money for one year for the approximately 2.5 million federal and local employees, but at least 500 euros per month. Two rounds of negotiations have so far produced no result.
The employers had offered to increase the remuneration in two stages by a total of five percent and to pay an inflation premium of 2,500 euros over a period of 27 months.
In addition, there are still local collective bargaining negotiations for ground handling services at the airports and nationwide for aviation security employees in Verdi’s organizational area. In local public transport, there are strikes in the federal states that are linked to the collective agreement for the public sector or in which a collective agreement for local transport is currently being negotiated.
In ongoing or upcoming negotiations, the EVG is demanding twelve percent more money from around 50 bus and train companies, but at least 650 euros a month. In the conflict with Deutsche Bahn, the group offered five percent more money in two stages and also an inflation premium of 2,500 euros in the second round of negotiations. The union had rejected the offer as a “sham offer”.
>> Read here: Fear of the wage-price spiral – Despite falling inflation rates, wage demands are rising
In addition to employees of Deutsche Bahn and its bus companies, employees of Transdev, AKN, Erfurter Bahn, Osthannoversche Eisenbahnen, Erixx, Vlexx, Eurobahn and the Länderbahn and other companies have also been called to strike.
The railway and the airport association are sharply critical
The Deutsche Bahn criticized the nationwide EVG warning strike as groundless and unnecessary. “The union can’t be serious about going on strike and then not negotiating for four weeks,” said HR director Martin Seiler. The next hearing date is for the 24./25. scheduled for April. In the run-up to the massive strike announcement, Seiler had already called on the EVG to resume wage talks “immediately”.
The group promised to provide more detailed information about the effects of the warning strike as soon as possible. Passengers who have booked a long-distance journey for Monday or Tuesday can still use the ticket flexibly up to and including April 4th, Deutsche Bahn announced. Seat reservations could be canceled free of charge.
The Airport Association is also sharply critical. “The unions are saying goodbye to the well-established tradition that in Germany solutions can be reached at the negotiating table,” said ADV General Manager Ralph Beisel. The strike actions announced for Monday would go beyond any reasonable measure. “This has nothing to do with a warning strike. Rather, it is an attempt to introduce French conditions in Germany by means of a general strike.”
The chief negotiator for the Association of Municipal Employers’ Associations (VKA), Karin Welge, had accused the unions of escalating collective bargaining conflicts in order to recruit members. “The strikes at the airports or in the day-care centers are a lever of power that the unions consciously use,” said the mayor of Gelsenkirchen to the Handelsblatt. “But they have to be careful not to overly abuse democratic rights such as the right to strike. Otherwise, at some point, democracy will be damaged.”
More: Verdi warning strike – the port of Hamburg is closed to large ships, delays are imminent