Strike in local transport – what runs today and what doesn’t


As of: February 2, 2024 3:06 a.m

Many employees and students rely on buses and trains. Can you miss work or school if local transport is at a standstill – and what alternative options are there? An overview.

Millions of people use buses, trams and subways every day. Today, in most cities, the bike or the car is probably the better choice – because after train cancellations and canceled flights, buses, trams and subways are now staying in depots in many places. Public transport workers want to fight for better working conditions; in some federal states it is also about more money.

What is standing still and which trains and buses are running?

In more than 80 cities there are foreseeably almost no buses, subways and trams. Only a few buses, which are already run by private subcontractors on public transport routes, can run. Rail transport such as regional trains, S-Bahn and long-distance trains is not affected by the warning strike. According to its own information, the ver.di union has called on around 90,000 employees in more than 130 local public transport companies nationwide to go on a warning strike.

Most of the time there is a strike all day long. The work stoppages generally began on Friday morning with shifts starting between 3 a.m. and 4 a.m. For companies with night shifts, they could extend into Saturday. At the largest German local transport company, the Berliner Verkehrsbetriebe (BVG), the strike ends at 10 a.m.

There are strikes in all federal states – except in Bavaria, where there are currently no collective bargaining negotiations for local transport.

Where can I find information about outages?

The municipal transport companies provide information about the warning strike and its effects on the Internet and in their apps. They also refer to the timetable information. Information should also be displayed at stops with display boards.

Can I miss work or school because of the warning strike?

No. The employee bears the so-called travel risk. Early agreements with the employer are definitely an advantage – for example about a possible switch to home office for that day or about reducing overtime.

In such cases, students are still required to attend school, as the school ministry in North Rhine-Westphalia announced. Parents have to ensure that the children come to school. Some schools in Berlin and Brandenburg, for example, wanted to bring forward the certificate distribution planned for Friday by one day.

How do I get from A to B on Friday?

Trains operated by Deutsche Bahn and private transport companies are not affected by the warning strike in local transport. It is therefore worth researching timetables, especially in large cities. In many places, with a little planning, you can reach inner-city destinations with S-Bahn and regional trains – or at least get close to them. The lanes are expected to be more crowded than on normal days. That’s why you should plan more time.

Today thousands of people will switch to bicycles. The journey to work probably won’t be too unpleasant. According to current forecasts, it is expected to remain relatively mild in large parts of the country this time of year. For example, if you commute to another city with Deutsche Bahn, you can usually rent a bike or an e-scooter at the destination station.

If you want to switch to a car, you have to be prepared for obstacles. At least in the morning hours it could be crowded on the main inner-city routes. Carpooling, on-demand buses and car sharing services are an option.

What is the collective bargaining dispute about?

In most federal states it is about working conditions: Ver.di demands shorter working hours without financial losses, longer rest periods between individual shifts, more vacation days or more vacation pay. This is intended to relieve the burden on employees and make the job more attractive.

Employers in North Rhine-Westphalia, for example, argue that an additional day off would ultimately lead to an additional burden on existing employees. They also criticize the warning strike shortly after the start of negotiations as excessive.

Higher wages and salaries are also being negotiated in Brandenburg, Saarland, Saxony-Anhalt and Thuringia. In Brandenburg, ver.di is demanding 20 percent – but at least 650 euros – more for employees. According to ver.di, the term of the collective agreement should be one year. A new collective agreement for the transport companies is being negotiated in Hamburg.

Are there a risk of further public transport warning strikes in the coming weeks?

Yes, further warning strikes are likely, especially in those federal states where higher wages are being negotiated. It is also quite possible that ver.di will start another nationwide coordinated industrial action. Further warning strikes are only completely ruled out in a federal state once new collective agreements have been signed there. However, there have not yet been any concrete announcements for further warning strikes in public transport.

Source: dpa

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