How the German train drivers' strike affects freight trains

Wholesale and chemical industry representatives warn that the German train drivers' strike endangers the economic recovery in the country. The union of locomotive drivers (GDL) started its third strike yesterday - train drivers working for the Deutsche Bahn company have been paralyzing rail traffic. This is the first time, however, that the protest has affected freight train traffic, too.

How the German train drivers' strike affects freight trains
Pixabay/ Erich Westendarp

The strike of Deutsche Bahn (DB) freight train drivers started at 5:00 pm Wednesday, and it had immediate consequences for both domestic and international freight trains.

On Thursday night, from 02:00 a.m. onwards, passenger traffic is also expected to be largely paralyzed.

The standstills are expected to last until September 7th

Protest endangers economic recovery – warn wholesale and chemical industry

The renewed interruption of the already extremely tense supply chains endangered the economic recovery, warned the Federal Association of Wholesale, Foreign Trade and Services, reports German logistics portal Verkehrs Rundschau.

“Time-critical goods will only be able to be transported by truck despite the tight loading space, ”explained the association’s traffic expert, Carsten Taucke.

The strike is now also delaying delivery to customers in the chemical-pharmaceutical industry, added the Association of the Chemical Industry. As the spokesperson explains, for many substances, the train is the best means of transport, as the rail route is usually the most suitable for some chemicals.

Deutsche Bahn should provide a decent pay rise

Private companies such as Transdev, Netinera and Go-Ahead have recently concluded collective agreements with the GDL, explains the union.

Although these companies were also affected by the corona pandemic, they did provided a 1.4 percent wage increase in 2021 and a 600 euro corona bonus, as well as, a 1.8 percent wage increase in 2022 with a term of 28 months for all professions in the rail system.

“DB should take this as an example. ”said GDL Federal Chairman Claus Weselsky.

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