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Deutsche Bahn and Lufthansa

Transport Chaos Strikes Germany: Deutsche Bahn and Lufthansa Face Severe Disruptions

Berlin, March 12, 2024, The Europe Today: In a day of turmoil for commuters and travelers in Germany, both Deutsche Bahn and Lufthansa grappled with simultaneous strikes, leaving thousands stranded and causing significant disruptions.

Germany’s national rail operator, Deutsche Bahn, reported a mere 20% operation of the country’s long-distance trains, impacting regional and suburban services as well. The strike, orchestrated by the GDL trade union, marks the sixth in a series of protests within a months-long dispute over wages and working hours. The key point of contention remains the GDL’s insistence on reducing working hours from 38 to 35 per week without compromising on pay.

Despite weeks of negotiations, an offer to decrease working hours to 36 by 2028 failed to satisfy the GDL, leading to the 24-hour strike. Transport Minister Volker Wissing criticized the move, stating, “Striking instead of negotiating is irresponsible.”

Simultaneously, Lufthansa faced a strike by its cabin crew union at Frankfurt Airport, Germany’s busiest hub. The labor action resulted in the cancellation of up to 600 flights, affecting an estimated 70,000 passengers. The Independent Flight Attendants Organization (UFO) union, responsible for the strike, demands a 15% pay increase after 18 months, along with a one-time inflation compensation payment of €3,000 ($3,300) for its approximately 18,000 members.

This double blow to the country’s transportation systems has created widespread chaos, leaving commuters and travelers scrambling for alternatives. The strikes are emblematic of the ongoing challenges faced by both industries, with negotiations yet to yield a resolution.