German rail union's planned strike likely to impact freight, rail traffic

Nationwide transport strike in Germany
A general view of the empty Cologne Central Station during a nationwide strike called by the EVG rail and transport union over a wage dispute, in Cologne, Germany, April 21, 2023. REUTERS/Thilo Schmuelgen
  • New 50-hour strike to take place from Sunday to Tuesday
  • Deutsche Bahn called the plan "completely excessive"

BERLIN, May 11 (Reuters) - Germany's railway union EVG on Thursday announced a new 50-hour strike to take place from Sunday to Tuesday as wage talks with state train operator Deutsche Bahn (DBN.UL) and around 50 other rail companies dragged on without a resolution.

The walkout - set to start at 2000 GMT on Sunday and end at 2200 GMT on Tuesday - will be the latest in a wave of industrial action in several European countries as a cost of living crisis eats into incomes.

"There is little movement at the negotiating table, so we will now go on strike once again," said Cosima Ingenschay, head of collective bargaining at EVG, adding that "the offer on the table must be significantly improved."

Deutsche Bahn called the planned strike "completely unjustified and completely excessive," with executive board member Martin Seiler saying that "the EVG wants to paralyse the country for an unbelievable 50 hours instead of seeking compromise."

Deutsche Bahn said the strike would have "a massive impact on all German rail operations" and a "considerable impact on freight traffic throughout Europe".

It follows a nationwide strike by rail workers in April that paralysed much of the network and coincided with walkouts at German airports by members of another union.

The EVG, which is negotiating on behalf of 230,000 workers, including 180,000 at Deutsche Bahn, is seeking a 12% wage increase, or at least an additional 650 euros ($715) per month.

Deutsche Bahn has offered 10% for lower and middle income workers and 8% for higher earners, but would phase in these increases over time.

($1 = 0.9084 euros)

Writing by Matthias Williams, Editing by Rachel More and Miranda Murray

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