Largest strike in decades brings Germany to a halt
STORY: Airports, train stations and bus stations across Germany were at a standstill on Monday (March 27).
Millions of commuters and travelers were disrupted during one of the country’s largest strikes in decades.
The 24-hour walkout was called by the Verdi trade union and railway and transport union EVG.
The labor organizations represent more than 2.7 million employees collectively.
It all marks the latest in months of industrial action throughout major European economies, as higher food and energy prices dent living standards.
Two of the country's largest airports, Munich and Frankfurt, suspended flights.
And long-distance rail services were cancelled by German rail operator Deutsche Bahn.
Achim Stauss is a spokesperson for the rail company:
“We called on the EVG union to quickly return to the negotiating table. Today’s strike is very irritating and so is the fact that they are willing to negotiate with us only in five weeks. A solution to this wage dispute can only be achieved at the negotiating table. We put an offer on the table and obviously, the demands are still far apart but it’s the nature of wage negotiations to come closer together but this doesn’t work on the street or at the train station but at the negotiation table.”
According to newspaper Bild am Sonntag, the head of Verdi said the action was a matter of survival for millions of workers amid high inflation.
German consumer prices rose more than anticipated in February - up 9.3% from a year earlier.
Even as the European Central Bank has been trying to tame cost pressures with a series of interest-rate increases.
The EVG chairman reportedly told newspapers on Monday that employers had not yet made a viable offer.
And warned that further strikes were possible, including over the upcoming Easter holiday period.