The significant walkout in decades brings Germany to a standstill

March 29, 2023: Airports, bus, and train stations all over Germany were at a standstill on Monday, disrupting millions at the start of the working week in one of the most significant walkouts in decades as Europe’s huge economy reels from inflation.

The 24-hour strikes known by the Verdi trade union transport union EVG were recent in months of industrial action, which has reached major European economies as higher food and energy costs dent living standards.

Terminals were deserted mainly as airports, including two of Germany’s most prominent in Munich and Frankfurt, suspended flights, while rail services were cancelling by railway operator Deutsche Bahn (DBN.UL). Striking workers in yellow or red high-visibility jackets blew horns, sirens and whistles, held up flags and waved flags during protests.

The Airports Association ADV nearly 380,000 air passengers were affected. In Frankfurt alone, nearly 1,200 flights for 160,000 passengers were cancelled, and stranded people slept on benches. In Cologne, the less of city trains prompted a dash for taxis.

Employees press for higher wages to blunt the effects of inflation, reaching 9.3% in February. Germany, which was dependent on Russia for gas prior to the war in Ukraine, has been hard reached by higher prices as it scrambled for recent energy sources, with inflation rates exceeding the euro-area average in the latest months.

Persistent cost pressures push central banks to a series of interest price increases, though policymakers have stated that it is too early to discuss a price-wage spiral.

Verdi is negotiating for around 2.5 million public sector employees, including public transport and airports. In comparison, EVG deals for about 230,000 employees at Deutsche Bahn and bus firms.

In the related running up to the strike, both dug in their heels, with union bosses warning that considerable pay increases were a “matter of survival” for thousands of employees.

“Millions of passengers depending on buses and trains are suffering from this more exaggerated strike,” a Deutsche Bahn resource said.

Verdi is demanding a 10.5% wage surge, which would see a pay increase of at least 500 euros each month, while EVG is questioning a 12% raise or 650 euros each month.

Stranded passengers expressed sympathy and unhappiness about the strike action.

“Yes, it’s justified, but I went on strike my entire life and worked for over 40 years. At the same time, they always go on strike about something in France,” said passenger Lars Boehm.

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The significant walkout in decades brings Germany to a standstill
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The significant walkout in decades brings Germany to a standstill
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