New Wave Of Inflation-Driven Strikes Cripples German Air, Rail, Bus Transportation
Germany continues to be rocked by disruptive strikes against its entire transportation networks, as workers demand large pay hikes to help offset surging price inflation unleashed by central bank money creation, western sanctions against Russia, and Germany's deeply flawed energy policies.
On Thursday, members of the Verdi trade union walked out of the Dusseldorf, Hamburg and Cologne airports. That prompted the cancellation of some 700 flights and, as the strike continues into Friday, will affect nearly 100,000 people, according to the airport association ADV.
On Friday, security workers at the Stuttgart airport will join the strike. In anticipation, the airport cancelled all scheduled departures.
That's just the beginning of Friday's misery in Deutschland: The EVG union has called for a nationwide transportation strike from 3am to 11 am, freezing rail and bus travel and throwing a wrench in commuter's lives, to say nothing of tourists caught up in the mess.
The Deutsche Bahn national rail service said the impact would be enormous, and extend beyond the hours of the strike itself. "The EVG has completely lost its sense of proportion and is only bent on chaos," said Deutsche Bahn human resources board member Martin Seiler.
"Not a single train will run," EVG rep Cosima Ingenschay tells Reuters. Deutsche Bahn confirmed as much, saying all long-distance service was cancelled and few commuter trains will operate.
Germany's March year-over-year inflation rate clocked in at 7.3%. That's a modest deceleration from the 8.7% rate seen in both January and February. However, March saw a jarring 22.3% rise in food prices, up from January's 20.2% and February's 21.8% rise.
EVG is demanding a 12% pay hike for its 230,000 members. Verdi is angling for bonuses for working nights, weekends and on public holidays. "Work at airports must become more attractive in order to be able to keep aviation security specialists and recruit new ones in order to avoid longer waiting times for holidaymakers," Verdi rep Wolfgang Pieper tells DW.
A similar one-day mega-strike slammed Germany in late March. However, ratcheting up the pressure, another rep threatened that the next strike will span multiple days.
The cumulative toll is mounting, as more than 900,000 passengers have had to reschedule or cancel air travel so far this year. The bus and rail impact is surely well higher than that.