Traffic strike in Germany – cancellations also in Austria

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Trains, buses and planes have been at a standstill throughout Germany since midnight. The 24-hour warning strike is also causing massive disruptions in rail and air traffic in Austria. Among other things, all train connections via the German Corner are affected. Trains to and from Germany will be shortened or cancelled. According to information from Vienna Airport, all flights between Vienna and Munich, Frankfurt, Nuremberg and Stuttgart are also cancelled today.

With the warning strikes, the German union Verdi and the Railway and Transport Union (EVG) want to increase the pressure in the ongoing wage negotiations.

On the railways, long-distance traffic and most regional traffic will be completely shut down on Monday. Almost all German airports will be on strike, but not Berlin Airport. Waterways, ports, and the highway system are also affected. Munich Airport was already hit by a strike on Sunday, with all twelve flights between Munich and Vienna cancelled.

In Austria, the strike also has a massive impact. Trains to and from Germany are being shortened or cancelled. All train connections via the German Corner are also affected. A shuttle service every two hours is being set up. Journeys may take up to three hours long. ÖBB asks all affected travellers to postpone non-essential trips on these routes or choose alternative travel options.

Many flight connections with the neighbouring country are also cancelled. Vienna Airport says all flights between Vienna and Munich, Frankfurt, Nuremberg and Stuttgart will be cancelled on Monday. Furthermore, there are also individual cancellations of flights to and from Düsseldorf, Hamburg and Cologne – a total of 28 outbound and 27 return flights to and from these destinations.

Flights between Salzburg and Frankfurt and Cologne have also been cancelled, as have all three flights between Innsbruck and Frankfurt and two round-trip flights each between Linz and Frankfurt. All travellers should check with their airline or tour operator regarding their air travel. An overview of recent arrivals and departures can also be found on the homepages of the respective airlines and airports.

The effects of the warning strike are still likely to be felt on Tuesday. For example, in the long-distance traffic of Deutsche Bahn, it will take time until the ICE and IC trains are back where they are needed. Therefore, train cancellations are expected, especially at the beginning of the day, the railroad said. Also, at the airport, ‘s effects are still possible on Tuesday.

It is unclear whether there are more strike days ahead. Today’s walkout is a longer-planned but initially one-off action by the unions involved. With the warning strike, Verdi wants to increase the pressure on the municipalities and the federal government. If both sides reach an agreement in Potsdam, the EVG would no longer be able to carry out possible further rail strikes in solidarity with Verdi. Given the contentious situation, however, further walkouts in the public sector are not off the table.

In any case, the railroad workers’ union EVG has defended the warning strike and warned of new stoppages during the Easter vacations. “It depends on whether the railroad board will soon present a proper offer,” EVG chairman Martin Burkert told the newspaper “Augsburger Allgemeine” (Monday edition), according to an advance report. However, the union is not seeking warning strikes during the vacation period over Easter. Verdi head Frank Werneke also defended the walkout, while the head of the German civil service association dbb, Ulrich Silberbach, warned against further escalation of the labour dispute.

The EVG is negotiating for around 230,000 employees at 50 rail and bus companies, for whom it wants a 12 percent pay rise, or at least 650 euros monthly. Verdi is negotiating for the approximately 2.5 million public sector employees at the federal and local levels, including those working in local transport and airports. The union demands a 10.5 percent increase, or at least 500 euros a month.

Under tense conditions, Verdi and the civil servants’ association dbb are meeting again today in Potsdam with the municipalities and the federal government. The third round of negotiations for 2.5 million employees begins here. The negotiators are still far apart, but an agreement in the following days is not ruled out. At EVG, further negotiations with the various rail companies are scheduled to begin in the middle of the week. Negotiations with Deutsche Bahn are not to continue until after Easter.

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