Travellers have been left stranded across Germany by transport workers' strike starting March 7. (Johannes Simon/Getty Images)


German travellers left waiting as transport workers walk out


Many thousands of Germans were left facing delays as train drivers, airport-security workers and Lufthansa ground-staff walked off the job, spelling further headaches for travellers to move around, to or from, Europe’s largest economy.

The strikes on March 7 are the latest in a wave of industrial action to hit Germany, where high inflation and staff bottlenecks have soured wage negotiations in key parts of the transport sector, including national rail, air travel and public transport.

Train drivers began fresh strikes at 2am, with national rail operator Deutsche Bahn warning travellers that it could run only a small fraction of its usual services.

During the previous strike in late January, Deutsche Bahn was able to operate one in five services.

The latest walkout, set to last 35 hours, marks the beginning of a wave of rail strikes planned by the train-operator union GDL as it pushes for reduced working hours at full pay.

Deutsche Bahn has accused the union of refusing to compromise.

Airports in Frankfurt, Germany’s busiest air hub, and Hamburg cancelled their departing flights on the same day due to striking security workers.

The airport association ADV said walk-outs in the aviation sector were damaging Germany’s reputation as a centre for business and tourism. It estimated that the latest strike would affect the travel plans of more than 250,000 people.

The Verdi union organised that strike as well as another by Lufthansa’s ground staff on March 8.

Further woes are brewing for Germany’s flagship airline after its cabin crews voted on March 6 to strike, with the UFO union representing them assessing next steps.

Reporting its annual results on March 7, Lufthansa warned strikes were one of the factors that would lead to a higher-than-expected operating loss in the first three months of 2024.