Germans grin and bear strike by railway drivers

Berlin, ACCRA, APRIL 23, (dpa/GNA) – Germans grinned and bore a railway drivers’ strike for a second day Thursday, with a skeleton service still operating, driven by staff who belong to a rival union or are not unionized.

The striking union, GDL, accused rail operator Deutsche Bahn of pure provocation in pay negotiations and charged that the company was therefore solely responsible for the two-day strike, which has affected millions of commuters and long-distance travellers.

Bahn said its skeleton service meant about one-third of long-distance trains were running. On local services, the rate of coverage varied from 60 per cent of normal scheduled service in the west to 15 per cent in the east. It said it had achieved “stable operations.

On social media, many commuters soothed their nerves with humour in the hit-and-miss situation of waiting for trains that might end up cancelled. Twitter user @la_kirana called the waits a “Game of Trains,” a reference to the hit TV fantasy series Game of Thrones.

This is the seventh walkout in the current round of talks over pay and conditions as the GDL, the smaller of two main drivers’ unions, aims to increase pressure on the state rail network. The strike was set to end at 9 pm (1900 GMT) Thursday.

The other rail union, EVG, is negotiating separately for its driver members and says it too will strike if no deal is reached by June 1. GNA

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