German rail union GDL has extended a 66-hour strike to passenger routes, causing hundreds of commuter and long-distance trains to be cancelled.
Some 3,000 drivers walked out on Wednesday (April 23) in a protest for higher pay and negotiating rights.
Freight trains stopped running a day earlier.
Guido Strauf’s travel plans were disrupted:
“It’s understandable that they want more money,” he said. “But for people like us, who are going on holiday, it could have been extremely annoying because we would have missed our flight connection. We’re lucky we can take a Belgian train.”
The strike has caused major disruption nationwide. Deutsche Bahn rail network usually carries around 5.5 million passengers a day.
But the problems are not limited to those wishing to travel, as a spokesman for the company explained:
“It is costing Deutsche Bahn up to ten million euros per day of strike,” said Achim Stauss. “That’s the financial damage. But the damage to the company’s image is just as serious.”
Strikes in Germany are rare, because there are systems in place to settle disputes at the negotiating table.
According to the Federation of German Industries, the walk-out could have a serious knock-on effect on businesses in the country. It says the strike could cause up to 100 million euros of losses per day.
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