The German unions Verdi and EVG have called a 24-hour rail transport strike starting at midnight on Monday that threatens to paralyze the country. They demand a salary increase of 10.5% for public sector workers.
EVG expects all commuter, medium-haul and high-speed traffic on Deutsche Bahn to come to a standstill. The strike, they foresee, will also affect the aviation sector, causing many of the main flights to not operate.
Verdi Hamburg has reported for its part that agreements have been reached with the companies and organizations affected to guarantee that emergency services can circulate in the event of an accident, that emergency landings can be made or that there is urgent medical transport of patients.
Lufthansa has confirmed the cancellation and some delays in several of its flights already on Sunday due to technical problems. The reason is “technical problems” in external providers that affect check-in and boarding at Frankfurt Airport, according to the Bloomberg news agency.
This strike affects the transport sector just before the peak of movement of Holy Week and due to the high demand after years of restrictions due to the coronavirus pandemic.
This Sunday, the heads of the three parties of the German coalition have held a meeting that is expected to last until late at night to seek compromises and overcome various disputes that have occurred between the partners. The results of the meeting are not expected to be announced before Monday morning.
The clearest friction is between the Greens, the second party in the coalition of Vice Chancellor Robert Habeck, who wants to accelerate the ecological transformation, and the Liberal Party (FDP), the smallest group that has fiscal stability as one of its hallmarks. This also affects the plans of Chancellor Olaf Scholz’s Social Democratic Party (SPD) in terms of social policies.
The finance minister and president of the FDP, Christian Lindner, has proposed to return to comply with the fiscal rule in 2024, for which he has postponed the presentation of the budgets and has requested cuts from all the ministries.
One of Linder’s squires, the vice-president of the parliamentary group, Christoph Meyer, has added fuel to the fire before the meeting by saying that his party intends to “stop the unleashed propensity to spend of the SPD and the Greens”. “Sometimes alcoholics have to take the bottle of brandy out of their mouths,” said the liberal politician.
The Greens, for their part, see themselves as the engine of the fight against climate change and complain that while they make proposals on the matter, the other two parties in the coalition hold them back.
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