German unions call for transport, shipping sector strikes on Monday

Source: Logfret Germany; The Maritime Executive; Reuters; Bloomberg; AP News
Date: 24th March 2023

A warning of delays and backlogs (also concerning other European ports) as a result of the strike in Hamburg, Germany. In addition, German unions are calling on thousands of workers across the country’s transport system to stage a one-day strike on 27th March 2023 that is expected to bring widespread disruption to planes, trains and local transit.

A public employees strike has effectively closed the Port of Hamburg, Germany’s busiest seaport and the second busiest in all of Europe, for 48 hours. Port officials began limiting vessel movements on the Elbe yesterday morning and closed the port for all departing vessels later in the day with the strike expected to continue until Friday morning. The Port Authority said it had decided due to the massive restrictions imposed by the union to block the Elbe until further notice.

The ver.di service workers’ union and the EVG union, which represents many railway workers, announced the 24-hour walkout in a joint appearance Thursday that came as employees in many sectors have been seeking hefty raises to reflect persistently high inflation.

Ver.di chair said that the union is calling for 120,000 workers to walk out. Those will include security and ground workers at all German airports except Berlin, local transit employees in seven of Germany’s 16 states, harbor employees and workers on highways — the latter a measure that is likely to affect some tunnels.

This strike day will have a massive effect.

EVG counterpart said that the union is calling for 230,000 workers at Germany’s main railway operator, government-owned Deutsche Bahn, and others to walk out. People traveling on Sunday should take care “to be at their destination in a timely manner,” because some of the affected shifts could start on Sunday evening.

It is assumed that the country will be paralyzed on Monday and that as good as nothing will be possible in rail transport. Deutsche Bahn said that it won’t operate any long-distance trains and most regional trains won’t run either.

Frankfurt Airport, Germany’s busiest, tweeted that its operations will be “heavily disrupted,” and “strongly advised” passengers against traveling to the airport on Monday.

Munich Airport, the country’s second-busiest, said that ver.di is hitting it with two days of strikes and it will have no regular passenger or cargo flights on either Sunday or Monday.

Ver.di is engaged in a series of pay negotiations, notably for employees of Germany’s federal and municipal governments. It already has staged a series of one-day walkouts at individual airports and in public services, including local transit.

EVG is seeking a raise of 12%. Deutsche Bahn also has offered a two-stage raise totaling 5% plus one-time payments.

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