German train drivers ramp up pressure with longest strike yet

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German train drivers walked off the job again on Wednesday in what is set to be Germany’s longest-ever rail strike, spelling more headaches for commuters with scant signs of a return to the negotiating table on the horizon.

The strike, which began at 2 am (0100 GMT) on Wednesday and is set to last until Monday evening, is the fourth round of industrial action in the GDL union’s dispute with state-owned Deutsche Bahn and comes just two weeks after a previous strike ground national rail traffic to a near halt for three days.

A spokesperson for the national rail operator spoke of renewed “massive restrictions” across the country.

“We believe you have to come to the table, you have to find compromises. That is the only way,” the spokesperson told reporters, pointing to the six-day strikes “massive impact on the economy”.

Drivers in rail freight are holding a simultaneous strike.

GDL leader Claus Weselsky told broadcaster ARD that he was ready to compromise in the dispute over pay and working hours, but said Deutsche Bahn’s offers did not go far enough.

“We have to strike longer and harder because the railway management is resistant to advice,” he said.