Commuters using Germany’s railroads were hit with long delays and cancellations this morning as train drivers went on strike demanding better pay. The three-hour stoppage came after a months-long wage dispute between Deutsche Bahn and the train drivers’ union the GDL.
It wants a pay increase of 31 percent to bring salaries in line with other EU countries, where it claims wages are higher. “Our neighbours to the west and the south earn more than we do,” said one driver. “I don’t know about Poland, but they probably earn more than we do to.”
Deutsche Bahn, which criticised the union’s chairman saying he had lost touch with reality, handed out food and drink to stranded passengers. “I think the ten percent rise they were offered was a good deal, and they should have accepted it,” said one man. “As I’m travelling myself, it’s a bit annoying, but I can still understand their action,” said another passenger.
Half of Germany’s regional train services were disrupted by this morning’s action. GDL has threatened further strikes if its demands are not met, starting with next Monday. The last major rail strike in Germany dates back to 1992.