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More rail disruption signalled in Germany

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More rail disruption signalled in Germany

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The German train drivers union is threatening further strike action after an initial two-hour stoppage on Tuesday stranded passengers on both local and long distance rail services.

The dispute is over wages. The union wants pay for drivers at six small private rail firms increased to match those at national operator Deutsche Bahn.

The drivers also want a higher wage offer from the state-owned national rail operator.

The train drivers’ union leader Claus Weselsky said their patience has been exhausted: “Negotiations with Deutsche Bahn and the regional train operators have failed. They have been unwilling to accept what we want. We have been negotiating for six months and got nothing. It’s over now. It’s time for us to use pressure and a strike.”

Having accepted modest pay rises after the financial crisis, more workers now want to share in Germany’s faster-than-expected economic recovery.

A new survey shows German consumer morale at its most optimistic for years but also suggested workers are increasingly confident wages will rise this year, posing inflationary risks.