German rail passengers face widespread disruptions during their morning commute on April 21, after transport union EVG called for a nationwide warning strike, escalating a dispute with Deutsche Bahn AG over pay.
The walkout, scheduled for 3 a.m. to 11 a.m., is intended to send “a clear signal” that employees don’t want to impact passengers but rather the companies involved, the union said in a statement April 19. “We need to step up the pressure on employers who think they can ignore their workers’ demands and instead want to engage in lord-of-the-manor-style collective bargaining,” the union, which represents about 50 transport operators, said.
Deutsche Bahn, in a separate statement, said the strike action was “completely useless and unnecessary,” as it would hit passengers particularly hard on the busiest travel day of the week. The company called EVG’s campaign “purely a membership acquisition exercise.”
It’s the second time EVG has called its members to walk off the job in 2023. The sides first sat down in February, with Deutsche Bahn making an initial offer in March that would have worked out at an 11% wage increase over 12 months. The union rejected Deutsche Bahn’s newest proposals in talks April 16.
Strikes for better pay have gained momentum in recent months in Germany and other European countries, amid stubbornly high inflation and living costs. Germany’s air and rail services ground to a halt in March during a one-day strike. The walkout also affected some ports, with services union Verdi joining forces with EVG.
Verdi earlier this week called on aviation security workers to strike on April 20 and 21, affecting services in Duesseldorf, Hamburg and Cologne-Bonn.