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Public transportation in Germany came to a near complete stop due to industrial action.

The majority of Germany’s buses, trams, and underground trains were idle on Friday, marking the end of a weeklong series of sporadic strikes against public transportation due to disagreements about work schedules.

The Verdi union organized the walkouts, which have affected 14 of the 16 states in the nation, including Berlin. They concluded at 2:00 PM (1300 GMT) in the capital, while they continued into Saturday in other locations.

The fact that Friday’s activities fell on the same day as climate protests organized by Fridays for Future and other environmental advocacy groups that called for cleaner transportation in over 100 locations added to the possible unrest.

This was the second wave of nearly national strikes on public transportation that Verdi, which represents more than 130 municipal enterprises and about 90,000 employees, organized in recent weeks.

According to Verdi, negotiations over the contracts of public transportation workers have reached a standstill as it demands more vacation time and less working hours.

BVG, the public transportation provider in Berlin, has referred to the walkout as “unnecessary and completely exaggerated”.

The largest economy in Europe has experienced several strikes due to consistently high inflation, which has also affected rail and air traffic.

THE COLLISION

Following the collapse of weeks-long negotiations between Deutsche Bahn and the GDL train drivers’ union on Thursday evening, commuters may soon see additional strike action on the trains.

Further rail strikes may be possible as wage talks between the train drivers’ union, GDL, and German national rail operator, Deutsche Bahn (DB), broke down once more on Thursday, according to DW.

Despite “far-reaching compromises” made by the state-owned rail operator, according to a DB spokesperson, the GDL was “sticking dogmatically to [demands for] a 35-hour week with unchanged pay.

Martin Seiler, head of human resources at DB, stated that although the union has “refused to move a single millimetre in the last four weeks,” the firm is “prepared to take steps towards a reduction in working hours which go far beyond our previous offer.”

However, GDL officials withdrew from the negotiations after accusing the Bahn of “leaking” private information to the media. Following the publication of details from the talks in the mass-market newspaper Bild, GDL representatives stated that the material could only have originated from DB sources because the union had not spoken to the newspaper “for years” because

The GDL scheduled a news conference for Monday but would not comment on the actual negotiations.

THE REQUIREMENTS

The GDL remains steadfast in its demand that shift workers’ weekly working hours be cut from 38 to 35 hours. Claus Weselsky, the union’s leader, also wants to establish collective agreements for certain railway infrastructure components.
Thus far, DB has dismissed both points.

With two shorter strikes and two lengthier strikes, The GDL has reportedly caused significant disruptions to Germany’s rail network four times. Freight, local, and long-distance transportation all came to a complete halt for several days.

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