Nationwide German transport strike begins,causing major chaos

TEHRAN, Mar. 27 (MNA) – Germany faces a major transport disruption as workers at airports, ports, railways, buses and metro lines started a nationwide strike on Monday, demanding pay hikes amid soaring inflation.

Almost all planes, trains and buses in Germany were at a standstill on Monday after the nationwide 24-hour strike began at midnight.

Preparations for the strike had already caused major weekend travel disruptions, DW reported.

Two major unions are deadlocked in negotiations with public sector employers in several transport sectors — including rail, local public transport, and airport ground staff — and organized the strike to coincide with the start of a third round of talks.

Frank Werneke, head of the Verdi union that represents around 2.5 million public sector employees, spoke of the biggest strike in decades. 

Every major German international airport was affected by the strike except for BER Berlin Brandenburg Airport. In total nationwide, around 400,000 passengers were thought to face delays or cancellations.

At the largest hub, Frankfurt, all incoming and outbound flights were canceled throughout Monday, or alternatively labeled as delayed by a full day in the case of some long-haul flights. 

Munich International Airport, meanwhile, had already halted flights on Sunday in anticipation of the strike and its effects. All passenger flights were off on Monday as well. 

Berlin's BER Airport was the only one unaffected by the strike. Its online arrivals and departures boards looked comparatively normal early on Monday morning — except for all the regular domestic flights from elsewhere in Germany being struck through.

The strikes will also halt commercial and passenger shipping at several major harbors and ports.

The German rail network was similarly paralyzed. The EVG union said more than 30,000 railway workers have joined the strike.

"The willingness to strike is very high, and the anger among the workers over being stalled by the employers is huge," EVG negotiating committee member Kristian Loroch said on Monday.

"We are striking today because in collective bargaining, despite the tight financial situation for many workers, we have not been presented with anything that is worthy of serious negotiations."

Regional rail services would also be massively curtailed, to the extent that it would not even be possible to operate on an emergency schedule akin to public holiday services, Deutsche Bahn said. 

And in seven German states — Baden-Württemberg, Hesse, Lower Saxony, North Rhine-Westphalia, Rhineland-Palatinate, Saxony, and Bavaria — the strikes would also bring a halt to local public transport like buses, trams or the underground service. 

As a result of this, traffic was also expected to be problematic on the road network, given that most commuters would have a choice between a car and a bicycle. 

Last week, national rail operator Deutsche Bahn took the unusual step of calling off all long-distance rail services in the country scheduled for Monday. 

Often Deutsche Bahn tries to prioritize these services, several of which also cross international borders. Comparable past strikes in Germany had had a more pronounced impact on local services. 

News Code 198839


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