German train drivers have started a 62-hour nationwide strike on freight routes, raising fears about the impact of a long-running wage dispute on Europe’s biggest economy. Action last week paralysed most of the cargo network, costing Germany an estimated 50 million euros a day and some economists believe that could rise to 500 million a day if the stoppage lasts more than a week.
The GDL train drivers’ union also plans to extend the strike to passenger services on Thursday, causing potential misery to millions of travellers. It has already staged a series of stoppages over the last few months, but most polls show strong public support for the union which says its members are underpaid compared to drivers in other EU states. It wants rail operator Deutsche Bahn to make an improved pay offer so the two sides can restart talks.