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ORIGINAL FRENCH ARTICLE: Allemagne : Les cheminots en grève

by Gaël De Santis

German Rail Workers Strike

Translated Sunday 12 October 2014, by Gene Zbikowski

Strikes are hitting the railways and the airlines in Germany.

The German rail workers are speaking the same language as French rail workers, the language of the strike. On Oct. 7, the train drivers of the Deutsche Bahn, the German rail company, began a strike which was to end on the morning of Oct. 8. The strike was called by the train drivers union (GDL). The goals are a 5% wage hike and a two-hour reduction in the length of the work week. The train drivers are not alone in the strike – both the ticket inspectors and the on-board food service workers were called to strike, too. The same demands were the cause of two three-hour work stoppages in September. “Nobody should expect that we’re going to give in,” warned Claus Wesselsky, the leader of the GDL, who thinks that management has learned nothing from the previous stoppages.

Work Stoppage in Aviation

The railroads are not the only transport sector affected by strikes. Lufthansa pilots stopped work last week. Their trade union, Cockpit, called them to stop work in the freight sector on October 8 and 9. This will be the fifth work stoppage at Lufthansa since August. At issue is early retirement at age 55, which is being questioned. Like their French counterparts, the pilots are confronted with a management that refuses to negotiate. “Given that Lufthansa management has stubbornly maintained its maximum demands for months, the union sees itself forced to conduct new strike actions,” the trade union said.

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