The German Train Drivers’ Union (GDL) announced that it will implement a four-day strike starting on 9 January at 6 pm and going until 12 January (Friday) at 5 pm.
Initially, the industrial action will begin with a walkout by the freight train drivers on Tuesday, who will be then joined in the protest by passenger train drivers from 2 am on Wednesday.
The strike follows the continuing failure between Deutsche Bahn (DB) and the trade union to reach an agreement on things like reducing working hours from 38 to 35 without affecting payment and distributing one-off bonus payments of 3,000 euros for train drivers to retroactively make up for inflation. In addition, the train drivers are asking for salary increases of 555 euros a month.
The train operator DB advises anyone who was planning to travel within the strike period to delay their journey until after 12 January, and preferably even until 15 January fearing massive disruptions with long-lasting impact.
Affected passengers have been told that their original ticket will be valid for transport at a later date and alternative routes can be used to reach the final destination on their ticket. Seat reservations can be cancelled at no extra cost.
Farmers are also blocking roads in Germany
As if a massive railway transport disruption was not bad enough to deal with, this week road transport in parts of Germany is also going to experience hard times. That’s because there’s also an ongoing farmers’ protest which has resulted in roadblocks as of Monday morning.
These protests are scheduled to last even longer – 8 days – and are motivated by a government decision to slash agricultural subsidies and tax breaks. Police said roads and highway slip roads were blocked in multiple locations nationwide, including several border crossings with France, causing traffic jams most of the day.