Black Friday for passengers as longest rail strike in German history continues

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Black Friday for passengers as longest rail strike in German history continues

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After a terrible Thursday, it has turned into a Black Friday for German train travellers on day two of a nationwide strike that has paralysed the railways.

A court has dismissed a bid by rail operator Deutsche Bahn to halt the walkout over negotiating rights and pay, meaning it will continue until Monday – become the longest railway strike in Germany’s post-war history.

“Deutsche Bahn should have reacted earlier to get a deal and prevent the strike,” said one would-be passenger in Munich.

“A trade union has the right to strike. Whether that is reasonable is a different question. It’s all about influence.”

With this the latest in a series of strikes since September, another traveller said he thought it was okay to stand up for what you want at first “but now they are really going too far”.

“It is better than during the last strike,” said a female passenger. “But I think there is a limit. Enough is enough. If all of Germany went on strike, nothing would work.”

The GDL drivers’ union accuses the railway of denying it the right to negotiate for 17,000 train stewards. It wants a five percent pay increase and a reduction in the working week to 37 hours from 39 hours.

The timing is particularly delicate with the industrial action threatening to keep people from attending celebrations this weekend marking the 25th anniversary of the fall of the Berlin Wall.

The train drivers have been pilloried in the media, with Die Welt newspaper referring to a “stupid strike” on its front page and top-selling Bild calling it a “monster strike”.

Even Chancellor Angela Merkel, who rarely gets involved in industrial disputes, appealed to the train drivers’ “sense of responsibility” and urged mediation.