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Public transport disruption on Friday as workers across Germany strike

The Local Germany
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Public transport disruption on Friday as workers across Germany strike
Trams in Hanover warn passengers about an upcoming strike. Photo: picture alliance/dpa | Moritz Frankenberg

Public transport workers are striking in numerous cities in several German states on Friday in an ongoing dispute over wages.

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Hesse, North Rhine-Westphalia, Baden-Württemberg, Saxony, Lower Saxony and Rhineland-Palatinate are particularly affected in the all-day Friday strike, the union announced earlier this week, meaning public transport will be hit. 

Munich saw strikes begin on Thursday, shutting down the bulk of the city's U-Bahn and bus system. The walkouts are intended to increase the pressure in an ongoing collective bargaining agreement on behalf of municipal and federal public service workers.

The strikes coincide with 200 planned Fridays for Future demos taking place around Germany.

"We want to combine the global climate strike day... with warning strikes in local public transport," said Verdi deputy leader Christine Behle. 

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"A transport turnaround will not be possible without investing in the workers as well."

In the negotiations for the approximately 2.5 million federal and municipal employees, the Verdi trade union and the civil servants' association dbb are demanding 10.5 percent more income, but at least €500 more per month. 

No agreement was reached in the second round of negotiations last week, with the unions rejecting the employers' offer as insufficient.

The offer includes, among other things, a total pay increase of five percent in two steps and one-time payments totalling €2,500.

But Behle dismissed the offer as "a slap in the face of the workers".

The third and probably decisive round of negotiations is scheduled for the end of March. The negotiations have already been accompanied by warning strikes in various cities for several weeks, including work stoppages in hospitals and rubbish collection.

At the beginning of the week, strikes by municipal workers also largely paralysed the airports in Düsseldorf and Cologne/Bonn, and public transport strikes in Cologne led a complete stoppage of many trains and trams. Other individual cities also saw workers walk off the job during the week, including in Bavaria and Saxony.

READ ALSO: Most flights axed at airports in Germany's largest state as workers go on strike

Increased walkouts are expected around Germany until the third round of negotiations.

 

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