Germany is threatened with a traffic heart attack on Monday
Frankfurt, Berlin The traffic in Germany threatens to 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 and airports affected.
“There will be severe delays throughout Germany, including transport services in all the areas mentioned,” said the railway and transport union (EVG) and Verdi on Thursday in Berlin. “The all-day strike usually begins on the night of March 26-27 at 00:00 and ends at 24:00,” they said. The long-distance, regional and S-Bahn transport of Deutsche Bahn and other railway companies are affected by the unprecedented warning strike. “This strike day will have a massive effect,” said Verdi boss Frank Werneke.
Verdi is also calling for walkouts at several airports and in local public transport in the federal states of Hesse, North Rhine-Westphalia, Baden-Württemberg, Saxony, Lower Saxony, Rhineland-Palatinate and Bavaria.
The highway company is also said to be on strike, as is the water and shipping administration. Although the Autobahn company is organized as a private limited liability company, when it comes to paying employees, it is based on the collective agreement for the public sector.
Should employees in the nine traffic control centers, who are responsible for monitoring traffic in tunnels, among other things, take part in the industrial action on a larger scale, there could also be a threat of tunnels on motorways being closed.
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.
Because the strike preparations were secured in advance, the Deutsche Bahn emergency timetables have already been drawn up. On Wednesday, Verdi had already called on municipal employees of the Hamburg port administration to go on a 36-hour warning strike, so that the authorities temporarily closed the Elbe to the traffic of large ships.
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. The civil servants’ association is not participating in the current strike call from Verdi and EVG, both of which are combined in the competing German Trade Union Confederation (DGB).
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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”.
The next hearing date is for the 24./25. scheduled for April. Bahn HR Director Martin Seiler had previously called on the EVG to resume collective bargaining “immediately”. The next negotiation date at the end of April is “much too late”.
The chief negotiator for the Association of Municipal Employers’ Associations (VKA), Karin Welge, had accused the unions of escalating collective bargaining conflicts for reasons of recruiting members. “The strikes at the airports or in the day-care centers are a lever of power that the unions consciously use,” Gelsenkirchen Mayor Karin Welge told 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