Railway stations across Germany were silent and all but empty as the country faced its longest strike. The walkout by drivers threatens chaos and disruption on vital supply lines and is the eighth in the space of ten months.
The dispute is over pay and working conditions.
“I just want to say it makes me sick. It is taking me much longer to get to where I want to go. I need half an hour just to get to the train station. I was supposed to be at work at 5.30 now I won’t get there until shortly before six,” was one commuter’s reaction.
“I like taking the train but now I can’t because of the strike. You need two hours just to get to Leipzig, and I am really angry about that and I do not agree with the strike,” said another.
The drivers are calling for a five percent pay rise, a cut in their working week and the right to represent other employees.
Their union, the GDL said in a statement, “no results” had come from negotiations while Deutsche Bahn called the walkout, “completely inappropriate”.
Their trains carry around five and a half million people in Germany every day.