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Germany braces for longest-ever rail strike

Germany braces for longest-ever rail strike

BERLIN: German train drivers found themselves under fire from industry and the government on Monday after announcing their longest walkout in the history of rail operator Deutsche Bahn.

“From outside, the labour dispute at Deutsche Bahn is becoming increasingly difficult to understand,” said Eco­nomy Minister Sigmar Gab­riel, complaining that the week-long stoppage would “badly hurt commuters and passengers, as well as Deutsche Bahn and the German economy as a whole,” Europe’s largest.

Federal transport minister Norbert Barthle slammed the situation created by the industrial action as “intolerable”. The drivers’ union GDL has been locked in a bitter dispute with Deutsche Bahn management primarily focused on the employees it wants to represent, but also on wages and working hours.




GDL has already staged seven previous strikes since July, which Deutsche Bahn said cost the company 200 million euros ($222 million).

The latest walkout is scheduled to begin at 3pm starting with cargo services, and “will be the longest ever in Deutsche Bahn’s history,” said GDL’s combative leader, Claus Weselsky.

Published in Dawn, May 5th, 2015

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