ICE trains to Germany will be canceled due to German strike, says NS
The international ICE trains between the Netherlands and Germany will be canceled from Sunday evening to Tuesday night due to a major national strike by German rail workers, a spokesperson for Dutch national railway NS. Railway staff in Germany will stop working for a 50-hour period beginning on Sunday evening due to a long-running clash over a collective bargaining agreement with Deutsche Bahn and other railway companies. The strike was announced by the rail union EVG on Thursday.
It is not yet known when exactly the first ICE trains will be canceled on Sunday. The NS is still looking at the details, the NS spokesperson said.
Deutsche Bahn said it expects the 50-hour rail strike to begin on Sunday evening to cause a "massive disruption" to rail traffic in Germany and elsewhere in Europe. Train transport in Germany was hit hard by the previous strikes in March and April. International train connections were also disrupted, including sleeper trains to Austria and Switzerland and trains between the Netherlands and Germany.
The strike will start at 10 p.m. on Sunday evening and will last until midnight brings Tuesday night to a close. The EVG had already threatened new, longer labor actions to reinforce their demands for a considerably higher wage. The union wants rail workers to be compensated for the high levels of inflation, and have had a long-running conflict with the train operators over wages.
The EVG represents approximately 230,000 employees at Deutsche Bahn and other firms. The union has demanded a wage increase of at least 650 euros per month for a one-year contract. There have been several rounds of negotiations, but so far nothing has been achieved.
The new strike follows previous actions on the railways, which almost completely halted train traffic in Germany. The nationwide strike will again affect regional transport, long-distance trains and freight transport. EVG said that the new action "clearly increases" the pressure on Deutsche Bahn and other rail companies to agree to their wage demands. The union also said it has no choice but to strike again because there has been hardly any movement at the negotiating table.
EVG negotiator Cosima Ingenschay said at a press conference that the railway workers’ patience is running out and that a 50-hour strike is necessary to show how serious the situation is.
Deutsche Bahn said the new move is "disproportionate" because the state-owned railway company has already increased its wage proposals to the EVG. Deutsche Bahn CEO Richard Lutz previously said that train passengers are waiting for a solution to the conflict over the collective bargaining agreement.
In addition to passenger train disruptions in Germany and neighboring countries, Deutsche Bahn also expects that freight transport in Europe will be severely disrupted by the strike. The German rail network is a very important hub for freight trains in Europe. According to Deutsche Bahn, six of the ten most important European freight routes are operated by German railways.
Deutsche Bahn personnel director Martin Seiler criticized the new strike, the severity of which does little to solve the problem, he said. "Instead of looking for compromises, EVG wants to shut down the country for no less than 50 hours."
Reporting by ANP