German railways are preparing for the longest strike in its history: The railway company Deutsche Bahn (DB), which constitutes the most important pillar of public transport in Germany, will start the longest strike in its history from Thursday. The mechanics' strike is expected to begin on Wednesday afternoon, with trains carrying goods. Then, starting from 02:00 at night, connecting Wednesday to Thursday, the engineers of the passenger trains will stop working. The Machinists' Union (GDL) announced that the strike, which will last a total of four days, will end at 04:00 on Monday morning.
The strike at Deutsche Bahn is predicted to paralyze public transport and daily life in Germany. It is predicted that the strike will particularly affect the 25th anniversary of the fall of the Berlin Wall and the ceremonies where thousands of people are expected to attend. Tourism professionals in Berlin, who reacted to the strike, criticized that the decision was selfish.
Deutsche Bahn Personnel Division Chief Ulrich Weber, who reacted to the strike of the machinists, argued that the call for strike was a malevolent challenge, while Deutsche Bahn President Rüdiger Grube called for reconciliation.
Machinists' Union President Claus Weselsky said that his demands for a 5 percent wage increase and a shortened weekend working time were not taken into account in collective bargaining. Stating that they have to defend the rights of all Deutsche Bahn employee members, either the mechanic, the caterer or the conductor, Weselsky said that Deutsche Bahn asked them not to represent anyone but the mechanics in the collective meetings. This is one of the points of disagreement between the parties.
After the failure of the last meeting of the weekend, the union announced that they had decided to strike.
Warning from the German economy
The German economy also warned of the negative effects of the strike. Achim Dercks, Vice President of the German Chamber of Commerce and Industry, stated that the goods transported by freight trains as well as the anger of passengers could be damaged. Gerd Aschoff, chairman of the Pro Bahn passenger union, said passengers were less and less understanding of the machinists' strike.