Rail workers in Germany have said they plan to extend a series of strikes in support of higher wages. The decision could bring travel in Berlin to a standstill during this morning’s rush hour. Tens of thousands of commuters faced delays yesterday, when 500 Deutsche Bahn employees staged stoppages in 13 cities across the country.
Union leaders have turned up the pressure by including Berlin’s S-bahn city transport system in the action: “I am a bit annoyed, but in the end there is nothing I can do about it so I am keeping calm,” said one traveller.
“I knew nothing about a strike until I got to the station, so I am pretty cross now, “ was a more frustrated reaction.
“I must get to work”, was another commuter’s tale. “I have been trying to get there since six am. I don’t know what to do for the best.”
The unions are demanding a seven percent pay rise. Deutsche Bahn is offering two percent rises in 2008 and 2009 and a one-off payment of 300 euros. Rail strikes are rare in Germany, which has one of the world’s most efficient networks. Local radio has urged commuters to cycle or walk to work today and avoid using cars because of expected traffic jams.