German train drivers have said they will begin an indefinite strike from 7 January, stopping commuter, long-distance and freight services. That after pay negotiations with the state-owned railway Deutsche Bahn seem to have irreparably broke down.
The train drivers union, GDL, said there is only one way the strikes could be headed off. Union leader Manfred Schell told reporters: “We will only stop the strikes if we’re sure to be on the right track to a reasonable wage contract. Only then would we stop striking, and not earlier.”
Deutsche Bahn expressed surprise that the union had suddenly pulled out of the talks and said up until then they had been constructive.
One angry passenger said of the stoppages: “It’s such a cheek, so impertinent, it stops a whole nation and costs millions.”
The dispute has been going on since July involving partial walkouts which have badly affected Germany industry. The drivers say they are underpaid compared with others in Europe.