A strike by rail workers in Germany halted almost all trains in the country on Friday morning, amid calls for higher wages.
The EVG union said in a statement that this second strike on the railways in less than a month showed that “the will to fight remains high”.
The unions are demanding a wage increase of 12% over twelve months or a minimum salary increase of €650, and are rejecting the one-off inflation bonus proposed by employers.
The EVG union, which represents employees of the public train operator Deutsche Bahn and employees of some 50 transport companies in Germany, added that “more than 25,000 employees in more than 1,800 locations” took part in the strike.
Friday’s strike was scheduled to run from 03:00 until 11:00 local time (09:00 GMT) across the country.
However, train traffic is expected to witness disturbances on the main lines until the evening, according to the “Deutsche Bahn” company.
Deutsche Bahn spokesman Achim Staus said Friday that this strike was “unnecessary” in light of the continuation of negotiations over wages and the start of putting proposals on the negotiating table.
He pointed out that “trains and stations are almost deserted” because of the strike movement.
A massive strike movement on March 27 paralyzed Germany’s transport sector, including airports, for 24 hours, at the call of EVG and the public service workers’ union Ver.di.
The Verdi union, which defends 2.5 million public sector employees, has been in difficult negotiations with the government and municipalities for several weeks. It is scheduled to resume these talks Saturday with the aim of reaching an agreement on salaries.
And increased strikes in order to raise wages in Germany in recent months, especially in the sectors of education, hospitalization and postal services.
Inflation in Germany was 7.4% in March year on year and food prices rose 22.3%.