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Day three of German rail strike takes toll on passengers and economy

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Day three of German rail strike takes toll on passengers and economy


Germany’s biggest ever rail strike has entered its third day, meaning more misery for millions of passengers. The situation is most acute in the east of the country. But among thwarted travellers everywhere, the frustration is starting to show. “It is not okay. Enough is enough!” said one woman in Berlin. “I have had to reorganise things a lot. If you have far to travel to get in, it is quite a drag. It is just not very nice.”

Others are philosophical. “I get up a little earlier, that is all,” said one man. “By now, it is almost routine.” The current stoppage is due to finish on Saturday, but the prospect of open-ended strikes over Christmas and the New Year has been raised by the GDL union, if its pay demands are not met.

Members say they are underpaid compared with train drivers in other European countries and that a 10 percent rise offered by rail operator Deutsche Bahn is not enough. The industrial action started in the freight sector on Wednesday before spreading to passenger services yesterday. Experts say the strike on freight routes is costing Germany 50 million euros a day.

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