A strike by German train drivers in Berlin and Hamburg has caused havoc during morning rush hour. It follows a row over pay and conditions that has lasted several weeks. Drivers suspended plans for a nationwide stoppage following a ban by a federal court in Nurnberg. However, the ruling didn’t affect local lines in Germany’s two largest cities – prompting the union to stage the disruptive rush-hour strikes.
The GDL union rejected a previous deal between Deutsche Bahn and two larger unions who accepted a 4.5 percent wage increase. GDL says its drivers are underpaid for the heavy responsibility they face and want a pay rise of 31 percent. The union has appealed the Nuremberg court ruling but has said it will not wage a labour war without the law on its side.
Were a nationwide strike to go ahead, it would be the first of its kind in Germany in 15 years and could affect up to five million passengers as well as freight services, causing potentially severe damage to the economy.