Tempers are fraying over Germany’s escalating train drivers’ strike, with frustrated commuters unhappy with both the union and the management. Commuters were stranded all over the country as drivers pursue their demand for a 31 percent pay rise.
Other rail workers were given four and a half percent in the summer, but the striking drivers are holding out for more. “If workers want to accomplish their goals they have to fight. The employer gives nothing voluntarily.” Deutsche Bahn’s services have been paralysed by the strike, which is due to last until Saturday.
Pressure is mounting on the company, but spokesman Karl-Friedrich Rausch maintained a tough line. “This strike is pointless because it could have been solved long ago. They are trying to force an unconditional surrender. That’s not going to happen.” A poll for Germany’s top-selling Bild newspaper shows only 45 percent support the strikers. Many people said their demands were over the top.
“This is an absolute catastrophe. Because of a few train drivers all of the train and freight traffic is suspended. It’s crazy.”
“You’ve got to laugh about it, there’s nothing else to do. All you can do is play along.” It’s not just commuters facing problems. Passengers arriving at Frankfurt airport, one of the busiest in Europe, have no easy way of getting into the city, and there are also worries about the strike’s knock-on effect on the German economy.