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Germany braces for new wave of strikes, causing disruptions to public transport

Germany braces for another surge of strikes in its public transport sector. From the end of February to the beginning of March, the spotlight turns to North Rhine-Westphalia as the stage for the ongoing conflict between employees and employers over working conditions and wages. Two-day disruptions to public transport have been officially announced.

Another wave of strikes in Germany

In response to the stagnant negotiations on collective bargaining agreements in local public transport (ÖPNV), the Verdi trade union has declared its intention to initiate new warning strikes on February 29 and March 1. The lack of progress in discussions is causing apprehensions regarding the stability of bus and train travel, significantly affecting the daily lives of German residents.
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Due to the lack of desired outcomes in the negotiations for collective agreements, the trade union is compelled to escalate its protest actions. The scheduled strikes are aimed at heightening pressure on employers and articulating employees’ dissatisfaction with prevailing working conditions.

The primary demand of the trade unionists revolves around enhancing working conditions, specifically advocating for a reduction in working hours without a corresponding decrease in remuneration. Additionally, they seek an extension of rest periods and an augmentation of the allotted vacation days. These demands are driven by the objective of halting the decline in the workforce within public transport, with a particular emphasis on addressing the shortage of bus drivers, which is currently the most pressing issue.

March 1 will be most difficult day for the people of NRW

The discontent among public transport workers in North Rhine-Westphalia (NRW) is resonating with solidarity in other regions of the country where collective bargaining negotiations are also falling short of expectations. In Brandenburg, Verdi is pressing for a substantial 20 percent pay increase as part of their demands. This signifies a broader movement and shared concerns among public transport workers across different areas of Germany.
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Anticipated strikes and demonstrations pose the potential for substantial disruptions to travellers, particularly on March 1. The Fridays for Future climate protection group is also scheduled to hold demonstrations on the same day, compounding the impact. Residents in Germany should be prepared for potential changes in timetables and plan accordingly to navigate any disturbances to travel arrangements.