Strikes in Rhine region bring public transport to halt: what you need to know

Strikes in Rhine region bring public transport to halt: what you need to know
On Wednesday, workers took to the streets to strike. Photo: DPA
Strikes have seized Germany's Rhine region, causing public transit in cities such as Cologne to come to a complete halt, and generating over 200 kilometres of traffic jams.

The strikes come from public service union Ver.di, which is asking for a six percent pay increase for public service workers from state and local governments, with a minimum increase of €200 each month. 

Ver.di, which represents 2.3 million public workers in Germany, has stated that its workers are not being fairly compensated for the amount of work they do, despite employers having the money to pay at a higher and fairer rate. 

Due to the strikes, there were 230 kilometres of traffic jams on Wednesday morning throughout the region, which encompasses the German state of North Rhine Westphalia (NRW), an NRW police spokesperson told the Rheinische Post on Wednesday morning. 

Public transit in many small and large cities has also come to a stop. While employees in some cities plan to resume working later on Wednesday, other strikers have not yet announced an end date. 

Below is the current breakdown of large NRW cities and areas affected by the strike. 

Cologne – Around 90 percent of city day cares (kitas) have gone on strike, along with rubbish disposal (AWB) employees, city clinics, the Federal Employment Agency and the job center. The city’s public transit (KVB) is furthermore on strike for the entire day. Up to date information is available on the KVB website

Düsseldorf – Trams, U-Bahns and most busses not running at all during the day, with the local Rheinbahn urging riders on its website to take the S-Bahn or regional trains instead, or turn to car sharing programs. At around 9 am, there were up to three times more bike riders on the city’s Rheinuferpromenade than normal, according to the Rheinische Post. 

Aachen – The bus company Aseag said on their website that no busses would be in operation. However busses from Tec and Arriva are still in operation. The city’s kitas have also gone on strike. 

Bonn – Municipal utilities are going on strike. The light rail lines 16 and 18, which are operated by Cologne Public Transit and the Stadtwerk Bonn, will also be on strike all day long. The S-Bahn and Regional Bahn will not be affected, according to the city's website

Remscheild – All trains operated in the city are on strike from 4 am on Wednesday until 7 am Thursday morning. Employees of all public swimming pools, and of some kitas, are also on strike.

Wesel Country – About 100 of the 125 bus drivers are going on strike, but no bus lines are coming to a complete stop.

SEE ALSO: Here are the parts of Germany that will be hit by public service strikes this week

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