'This is quite irritating': Passengers in Germany grounded by nationwide strike

Railway workers protest in front of the Cologne Central Station during a nationwide strike.
Railway workers protest in front of the Cologne Central Station during a nationwide strike. Copyright REUTERS/Thilo Schmuelgen
Copyright REUTERS/Thilo Schmuelgen
By Euronews Travel with AFP / Reuters
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Unions are demanding higher pay to combat rising inflation rates.


Airports in Dusseldorf, Hamburg, Stuttgart and Cologne Bonn are virtually empty in the first of another round of strikes by Germany's Verdi trade union over the cost of living crisis.

Nearly 100,000 people will be affected by aviation security worker strikes at the three airports, airport association ADV said, with around 700 departing flights to be cancelled.

"The situation in the terminals today is the same as previous Verdi strikes this year: departure terminals are empty, the situation is calm," a Hamburg airport spokesperson said in a statement.

Passengers did not feel so calm, however, with Robert Auracher, a traveller stranded at Munich central station, saying: "This is quite irritating because we travelled a long way to be at the station".

Germany's train strike: What to expect

The railway workers' union EVG are also on strike, saying workers need higher salaries to combat price rises and high inflation. "We must increase the pressure on employers who think they can ignore their employees' demands," the union said in a statement, following a previous strike at the end of March.

EVG, which is negotiating on behalf of 230,000 workers, is seeking a 12% wage increase, or at least an additional €650 per month. Deutsche Bahn has offered 5% and one-off payments of up to €2,500.

Today's train strike lasted until 11am, across the country.

A general view of the empty Cologne Central Station during a nationwide strike called by the EVG rail and transport union.THILO SCHMUELGEN/REUTERS

EVG represents employees from 50 companies, including the German state-owned railway operator Deutsche Bahn so disruption is expected nationwide.

According to EVG, around 22,500 Deutsche Bahn employees took part in the strike, which impacted national rail and another 49 railway companies.

Deutsche Bahn runs long distance trains, as well as S-Bahn services and regional trains in Germany. On Friday morning, all of these services were cancelled, with services resuming early afternoon. Travellers and commuters should also expect a few backlogs afterwards.

In certain cases, passengers may be entitled to around €80 in compensation – whether for food, new tickets, or accommodation - from Deutsche Bahn. So make sure you keep receipts for any unexpected costs.

Flights: Which airports in Germany will be impacted?

Hamburg airport has cancelled all departing flights until 11pm tonight. Flights may still end up arriving, although even some of these will be cancelled.

Cologne/Bonn has so far cancelled 121 flights

Düsseldorf has not announced blanket cancellations, with a notice to passengers advising them to check with their airline or tour operator about the status of their flights.

Stuttgart airport has announced there will be no departures all day on Friday and has asked passengers not to come to the airport.

Passengers with a flight departing from or travelling to Cologne/Bonn, Stuttgart, or Düsseldorf are asked to check their flight status regularly. If their flight is going ahead, they’re asked to give themselves extra time as long delays are expected at security.

Why have there been lots of strikes in Germany this year?

The work stoppage comes against a backdrop of strong social mobilisation in Germany, where strikes over wages have multiplied since the beginning of the year, from schools to hospitals, including the Post Office.

The last strike on 27 March paralysed the entire transport sector, including airports, for 24 hours, on the call of the EVG and the public services union, Verdi.


The union, which represents some 2.5 million employees, has also been engaging in tense negotiations with the state and municipalities for several weeks. These talks are due to resume on Saturday, aiming to reach a wage agreement.

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