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German train strike escalates

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German train strike escalates


A train drivers’ strike in Germany has escalated. Action that began to hit freight services yesterday will also affect passenger services from this morning. The strike, which will last until Saturday, is being described as the biggest in the history of the rail operator Deutsche Bahn. The long-running dispute is over pay and conditions.

Union official Hans Joachim Kaernschen said: “Among west European drivers, Germany is at the lower end of the scale in terms of working hours, salary and the general social conditions.”

Experts say the strike affecting freight trains will cost the economy about 50 million euros a day and could rise if the action goes on more than a week.

One passenger said: “The economic damage from this strike, and the insecurity for the passengers, are so serious that I think it’s high time everybody sat down together to find a reasonable compromise.”

Deutsche Bahn says it is drafting in more than a thousand workers to try to keep international, high-speed and long distance passenger trains running.

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