Walk on by: Public transport workers held a strike across most of Germany on March 1. (Maja Hitij/Getty Images)


German travellers left kicking their heels as transport workers strike


Travellers were left waiting in Germany as buses, trams and underground trains stood idle across most of the country at the culmination of a week of staggered public transport strikes triggered by disputes over working hours.

The walkouts, organised by the Verdi union, have hit 14 of the country’s 16 States, including Berlin. They were due to end in the capital at 13.00 GMT on March 1 but stretch into the following day elsewhere.

Adding to the potential turmoil, the actions coincided with climate protests on March 1 calling for “greener” transport in more than 100 cities, organised by Fridays for Future and other green campaign groups.

It was the second wave of near-nationwide public transport strikes in recent weeks called by Verdi, which represents about 90,000 employees from more than 130 municipal companies.

Verdi has said its current talks over public transport workers’ contracts have stalled as it pushes for reduced working hours and more leave.

Berlin’s public transport operator BVG has called the strike action “unnecessary and completely exaggerated”.

Faced with persistently high inflation, Europe’s largest economy has seen a number of strikes that have also impacted air travel and the railway system.

Commuters could soon face misery from more industrial action on the railways after weeks-long talks between the GDL train drivers’ union and Deutsche Bahn collapsed on the evening of February 29.