German train drivers union strike causes traffic problems
October 14, 2007
Strikes by the German train drivers union caused major disruptions in German transportation Friday, in some places bringing traffic at train stations to a standstill.
Members of the GDL, drivers of the government-owned Deutsche Bahn, have been fighting for a 31 percent wage increase and had threatened all-day strikes if their demands were not met, according to the German news agency Deutsche Welle. The union also held a three-hour strike Oct. 5.
Friday’s strikes were targeted primarily at regional and S-bahn train routes and were to last from 2 a.m. until midnight.
According to Deutsche Bahn’s Web site, up to 50 percent of regional and S-bahn routes had been canceled nationwide.
Regional train travel was hit hardest in Berlin, Stuttgart, Munich and in eastern Germany, Deutsche Welle reported.
Major train routes — those crossing state or national lines — were not affected by the strikes. Legally, those routes cannot be shut down by strikes, but Deutsche Bahn said there could be a possibility that they also would be targeted in the future.
The GDL has planned no strikes for the weekend and up until Tuesday, according to the Deutsche Bahn Web site. The site also said that customers who hold train tickets affected by the strikes would get a reimbursement until the end of the month.