Lazy eyes listen
According to Bild, public transportation in Germany will be suspended on Monday, potentially leaving the 83-million-strong country in “traffic chaos.” Several powerful trade unions have organised what is being called the largest nationwide strike in decades.
The German national railway operator, Deutsche Bahn, has announced that all long-distance train services will be completely halted due to the strike. Regional train services will be drastically reduced, and short-distance city rail, known as the S-Bahn in Germany, will be discontinued.
General strikes are expected to halt all bus, train, and tram traffic in six German states: Baden-Wuerttemberg, Hesse, Lower Saxony, North Rhine-Westphalia, Saxony, and Rhineland-Palatinate, with parts of Bavaria also likely to be affected, according to Germany’s Stern magazine.
The country’s airport association, ADV, has already estimated that the strike will prevent 380,000 passengers from flying on Monday. This comes just in time for the Easter holidays in Germany, which begin on Monday in Lower Saxony and Bremen.
Stern warned of “traffic chaos” on highways, while Bild called the planned strike “the worst strike in 31 years,” adding that Germany last saw something similar in 1992. Stern also called it a “war declaration on… the country’s infrastructure providers.”
The strike is the result of several major trade unions’ demands for wage increases. Verdi, the public sector union, wants a 10.5% pay increase, but no less than €500, for the 2.5 million public employees. The railway and transport union (EVG) wants a 12% raise, but no less than €650. The unions blame the crisis on rising commodity prices and inflation.
According to Verdi CEO Frank Werneke, a “sufficiently high” minimum wage is required for employees with low to middle incomes to successfully weather the effects of price increases. “Inflation hits them the hardest. Everyone is responsible for stocking the refrigerator. Food prices, as well as electricity and petrol prices, have risen dramatically,” he claimed.
Germany, like the rest of the EU, faced economic difficulties last year as the bloc began to gradually reduce its reliance on Russian energy supplies. Although the EU did not prohibit Russian pipeline gas imports, flows were significantly reduced due to Ukraine-related sanctions and Nord Stream gas pipeline sabotage. Earlier this month, Germany’s Ifo Institute for Economic Research warned that a recession could occur in 2023.