Since 02:00 in the morning, the biggest so far has been underway strike to the German Railways (DB), which will last until the evening of next Monday. Freight and passenger traffic across Germany is affected by the protests, and even the emergency timetable is expected to be implemented with difficulties, which differ from region to region.

Yesterday DB called her again Association of German Drivers (GDL) to return to the negotiating table. “It is time to come to an agreement, to negotiate, to find compromises. We are ready to meet at any time and anywhere in order to negotiate and discuss,” said a representative of the company.

The unionists, however, are sticking to their demands for increases of 555 euros a month in wages, a reduction in working hours from 38 to 35 a week for those working in shifts and a one-off payment of “inflation compensation”, amounting to 3,000 euros. DB, for its part, especially considers the request to reduce working hours impossible to meet, as new staff would be needed, at a time when there is a shortage of skilled workers in the railway professions.

In her new proposal Deutsche Bahn to the workers, which the union does not consider a basis for further negotiations, includes a reduction of working time by one hour for train drivers from 1/1/2026, a 4.8% increase in wages from August this year, payment of bonuses 5% from April 2025 and a one-off “inflation compensation”, immediately after an agreement is reached. According to the proposal, the new collective labor agreement should have a duration of 32 months.

“DB is not willing to negotiate, so the strike is legal, proportionate to the situation and permissible,” said GDL chief Klaus Wezelski.

The current mobilization is estimated to have a serious impact on the transport operation for the industry. “The six-day strike puts a strain on transport planning in Germany, but also to Europe and therefore the car industry,” said a spokesman for the Association of the Automotive Industry (VDA). The chemical industry “immediately developed flexible solutions, but these can only partially compensate for the constraints and delays on the railways,” the Chemical Industry Association announced. “A 24-hour rail strike costs around €100m in economic output. In the six-day strike, the effects do not grow linearly, but multiply. We are approaching a billion loss,” he said the economist of the Institute of German Economics (IW) in Cologne Michael Gremling.

But even the opposition criticized the decision for six days strike. “In critical infrastructure an arbitration process must first be completed before a strike can take place and this should in future be enshrined in law. GDL has lost its balance and center. Its leader, Klaus Wezelski, is holding the whole country hostage,” said Christian Democratic Party (CDU) MP and head of the Association of Small and Medium Enterprises Britta Konemann. “The union cannot simply paralyze the whole country like this,” commented the General Secretary of the Christian Social Union (CSU) Martin Huber and described the strike as “completely inappropriate”, accusing the unionists of an unwillingness to negotiate.