German rail workers have announced a 50-hour strike after failing to reach a pay agreement with Deutsche Bahn.
Germany is bracing for another major transport strike.
In late March and April, flights, trains and buses were cancelled when a ‘megastrike’ saw transport workers walk out over pay.
German transport union EVG has now announced a new round of industrial action.
Starting at 10 pm on Sunday 14 May, the 50-hour warning strike will bring much of Germany’s rail network to a standstill.
Which train services will be affected by the strike?
Long-distance, regional and freight trains will be affected until midnight on Tuesday evening.
EVG represents around 230,000 rail and bus workers from 50 companies, including Deutsche Bahn.
The operator will cancel all long-distance rail services, including ICE and IC services. The S-Bahn will also be affected.
City operators including Berlin’s BVG and Munich’s MVV are not EVG members. Local transport, including U-Bahns and trams, will remain in service.
Deutsche Bahn’s head of personnel Martin Seiler has condemned the strike as “crazy…baseless and totally excessive”, according to German state broadcaster DW.
Rail cargo services will also be hard hit, potentially causing cross-border delays with impacts across Europe.
So-called ‘warning strikes’ do not require union members to vote for them before they go ahead.
Why are Germany’s transport workers striking?
EVG is demanding higher pay for its members to combat rising inflation rates.
Deutsche Bahn has not met the union’s call for a 12 per cent pay increase, with a minimum increase of €650 per month.
So far, the train operator has offered a raise of around 10 per cent for low and middle-earners or 8 per cent for high earners, phased in over time, as well as a one off payment of €2,850 for all workers, DW reports.
EVG negotiator Cosima Ingenschay said this offer needed to be “improved considerably”.
The walkout comes against a backdrop of strong social mobilisation in Germany. Strikes over wages have multiplied since the beginning of the year, from schools to hospitals and including the Post Office workers.
Further negotiations between EVG and Deutsche Bahn are expected to take place at the end of May.
What can you do if your train is cancelled?
In certain cases, passengers may be entitled to up to €80 in compensation – whether for food, new tickets or accommodation – from Deutsche Bahn.
Make sure you keep receipts for any unexpected costs.
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