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Dublin: 6 °C Sunday 20 October, 2019
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Germany has no cash and no trains

Industrial action is causing headaches for the German public.

Germany Ukraine Angela won't be happy. Source: Markus Schreiber/AP/Press Association Images

GERMANY, USUALLY EUROPE’S bastion of stability, is currently grappling with striking workers who are set to cause disruption across the country.

Now, both trains and cash are in short supply.

The drivers’ union GDL has been locked in a bitter dispute with Germany railway company Deutsche Bahn primarily focused on the employees it wants to represent, but also on wages and working hours.

GDL wants a 5% pay increase and shorter hours but the central sticking point is its demand to negotiate for other staff, including conductors, who are traditionally represented by a larger rival union.

Workers have gone on strike before, but they are currently taking part in the company’s longest ever strike, starting today and running until Sunday.

Germany Train Drivers strike Source: Michael Probst

The economic impact of this disruption threatens to shave 0.01% off the country’s GDP.

Deutsche Bahn, which has already lost roughly €200 million from other strikes since July, employs a workforce of 300,000, including 196,000 in Germany, and transports around 5.5 million passengers and 607,000 tonnes of cargo in Germany every day.

It denounced the strike as “completely excessive and disproportionate”.

This is not an isolated spot of industrial action – workers at an armoured car company are also protesting.

According to Der Spiegal, several banks will be affected by the strike – due to continue indefinitely. Supply problems are already hitting some areas, with ATMs running dry.

Workers from the same union, Ver.di, are also due to go on strike at child day care centres across Germany, Bild reports.

Commuters back home are facing five further days of strike action from Siptu and the NBRU. Bus Éireann and Dublin Bus services are due to be affected on 15 and 16 May in the next round of industrial action.

Including reporting by AFP and The Associated Press

Read: Bus Eireann could lose as much as €5 million in revenue if strike days go ahead >

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Nicky Ryan

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