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Which transport routes will be affected by bus strikes in Hesse?

Paul Krantz
Paul Krantz - [email protected]
Which transport routes will be affected by bus strikes in Hesse?
Bus driver hangs a banner in the windshield that reads “We're striking”. Drivers from private bus companies across Hesse will engage in a warning strike on Wednesday and Thursday. Photo: picture alliance/dpa | Frank Rumpenhorst

Bus routes will be disrupted in many cities in Hesse, due to strikes on Wednesday and Thursday. Here's where and when passengers will be affected.

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Passengers in the state of Hesse should expect all-day disruptions of bus travel on Wednesday and Thursday as Verdi trade union has announced state-wide warning strikes.

The trade union has called for bus drivers of several companies to take part in the strikes, which come just days ahead of an agreed arbitration, which is to start at the beginning of June.

When and where will passengers be affected?

According to Verdi, the warning strikes on Wednesday are to begin with the early shift from 3.30 am and last until the end of the late shift on Thursday night.

Thursday is also Corpus Christi, a public holiday in parts of Germany, including Hesse.

During these times, bus routes in Vellmar, Baunatal and Hofgeismar (all Kassel), Büdingen (Wetterau), Homberg (Efze) and Melsungen (both Schwalm-Eder), Offenbach, Fulda, Oberursel (Hochtaunus), Hanau, Gelnhausen, Bad Homburg and Weiterstadt (Darmstadt-Dieburg) will be affected. 

In the town of Giessen, the intercity buses will run whereas regional lines won't.

Buses in Frankfurt will also be disrupted. However, U-bahn and S-Bahn trains as well as trams will continue as normal. 

In the major cities of Kassel and Darmstadt and in large parts of Wiesbaden, on the other hand, bus transport is expected to run normally. Most of the bus drivers in these regions are covered by other collective agreements.

Why are bus drivers striking again in Hesse?

Recently, just before and after the Whitsun (Pentecost) weekend, bus drivers in Hesse had gone on strike, which led to almost complete cancellations of bus services in many cities.

Following that strike, the bus companies involved negotiated with Verdi trade union, but failed to reach an agreement. Instead, a period of arbitration was triggered and scheduled for Friday, May 31st. 

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According to reporting by regional outlet Hessenschau, no new strikes will take place during the arbitration period, since neutral parties will be hearing arguments from both sides and deciding on a conciliation recommendation. 

"We want to emphasise our demands again before the arbitration," Verdi negotiator Jochen Koppel said, explaining the motive for Wednesday’s strike. 

Voices representing the bus companies have been critical of the strike. Chief negotiator of the State Association of Hessian Bus Companies (LHO), Volker Tuchan, said on Monday: "We find it very regrettable that public transport passengers are being affected again."

On behalf of the bus drivers, Verdi is demanding wage increases as well as paid breaks. 

Verdi is reportedly demanding a salary increase of 8.5 percent each, delivered in two stages, for about 6,000 employees. In addition, they want €3,000 in inflation compensation bonuses for each employee and compensation during break times. 

The employers' association LHO had rejected the demands as unfinanceable. The recent counter offer was a wage increase of 9.3 percent, delivered in three stages.

READ ALSO: 'No family life' -  A Berlin bus driver explains why public transport workers are striking

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