New German rail strike sows more chaos for passengers

18th October 2007, Comments 0 comments

18 October 2007, FRANKFURT (AFP) - A third German train drivers' strike caused fresh havoc Thursday, particularly in eastern parts of the country, the national railway Deutsche Bahn said.

18 October 2007

FRANKFURT (AFP) - A third German train drivers' strike caused fresh havoc Thursday, particularly in eastern parts of the country, the national railway Deutsche Bahn said.

Such industrial action used to be rare in a country where unions and companies normally work to reach agreements that keep the eurozone's biggest economy humming while providing workers with a high level of job protection.

Regional lines in the eastern states and the western cities of Frankfurt and Munich were hard hit, while those in the northern cities of Hamburg and Berlin were running on a sharply reduced schedule.

"The strikes are off to a good start," said Gerda Seibert, spokeswoman for the GDL union, which called on members to walk off the job from 2:00 am to 11:00 am (0000-0900 GMT) to press for a collective bargaining agreement and more pay.

"Several thousand train drivers and conductors are on strike," Seibert said.

More strikes could follow on Friday and next week if a deal is not found, disrupting service to 10 million people who use the train each day in Germany, the highest level in Europe.

It was the third day of strikes in two weeks by GDL members, who want pay increases of up to 31 percent and a separate contract from other rail workers.

Deutsche Bahn has refused to negotiate separately while offering a better deal than one agreed earlier this year with the Transnet and GDBA unions.

The railway did not implement replacement services as it had last Friday, saying it was not given enough time since the strike call was issued on Wednesday.

Freight and long-distance routes were not affected however, because a German court has ruled them off limits owing to the potential economic impact.

AFP

Subject: German news

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