Train drivers strike in Germany at start of school holidays

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Train drivers strike in Germany at start of school holidays

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Train drivers in Germany have gone on strike this weekend in a row over pay and working hours.

It is one of the busiest times of the year in Germany and the start of school holidays. Around two thirds of services across the country are expected to grind to a halt.

Passengers at Cologne railway station were having mixed fortunes in getting their trains.

One passenger said: “I must go to Langeoog and I cannot go there today. I must wait two days.”

Another woman was also struggling, saying: “This is not so great – especially as they announced the strike so close to the weekend. I have come to Cologne and wanted to go to Duisburg and then back to Frankfurt. This is not possible now. So I will return to Frankfurt as quickly as possible.”

However another passenger was in luck. “For the moment I am happy. My train is running. I will get home,” he said.

Drivers‘ union GDL wants a five percent pay rise and a shortening of their working week from 39 hours to 37. 

State-owned rail operator Deutsche Bahn has refused to negotiate with them. Two weeks ago, the company offered the union a 2 percent pay rise which it rejected.