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Tech fair hitches a lift in face of transport strike

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Tech fair hitches a lift in face of transport strike
Photo: DPA
10:19 CET+01:00
Organisers of the world's biggest information technology fair CeBIT in Hannover are appealing to residents of the city to give delegates a lift, as the public transport system was paralysed by a strike.

Although taxi firms and bus services as well as the S-bahn train service which is not affected by the strike, will be operating at full capacity, CeBIT organisers are calling for help from local people.

An appeal has gone out asking for drivers to display a red dot on their dashboards if they are willing to give stranded delegates a lift – as “a great way of showing that Hannover is not only the world's high-tech capital, but also a place of great hospitality.”

Public services union Verdi called the 24-hour warning strike, which will affect bus and underground train services, kindergartens and rubbish collection across Lower Saxony and some areas of Bavaria.

“The transport service will be completely out of action,” said Verdi spokesman Uwe Köhler in Lower Saxony. “Obviously it's not nice that we have to do it during CeBIT, and we're sorry about that. But we had to use the time between the first and second rounds of negotiations.”

“We're not expecting any bus or underground train services to run today,” said a spokeswoman for Hannover's transport service Üstra, though a shuttle bus service has been set up between the central bus station and the fair. Delays and traffic jams are expected.

The S-Bahn train service, which also runs to CeBIT, is not affected, as it is run by Germany's rail operator Deutsche Bahn. Deutsche Bahn has also promised to run extra regional trains to the IT fair.

Verdi is demanding a 6.5 percent pay increase, or at least €200 extra a year, for all public service workers. Employers have called on Verdi to reduce its demand, but have not made any offers of their own.

Other towns hit by the strike include Bremen, Kassel, Oldenburg, Osnabrück, Hildesheim, Braunschweig und Lüneburg.

Verdi is also expecting 10,000 workers to stay home in Bavaria, affecting hospitals, local councils, libraries, and theatres, particularly in large population centres like Munich and Nuremberg.

The Local/DPA/bk

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