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World News March 29, 2023

Germany at a standstill as huge strike halts planes and trains

One of the largest walkouts in decades brought airports, bus and train stations to a standstill across Germany on Monday, causing disruption for millions of people. The 24-hour “warning” strikes, called by the Verdi union and railway and transport union EVG, come amid soaring inflation that has stoked wage demands. The strikes are part of ongoing industrial action that has affected major European economies, as higher food and energy prices dent living standards. The strikes have kicked off three days of wage talks, which could lead to further strikes if no compromise is reached. Employers have offered a 5% increase in wages over a 27-month period and a one-off payment of €2,500, but unions are calling for a double-digit rise due to inflation, which reached 9.3% in February. Verdi is demanding a 10.5% wage increase, while EVG is asking for a 12% raise. The strikes have hit Germany’s transport sector hard, with Deutsche Bahn cancelling rail services and the Airports Association ADV estimating that 380,000 air passengers were affected by flight suspensions. Further strikes are possible, according to EVG chairman Martin Burkert. Economists say worsening chronic labour shortages give unions a strong negotiating hand. Commerzbank Chief Economist Joerg Kraemer said the economic impact of Monday’s strike was limited so far but could worsen if the strikes persist.

Sources: CGTN

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