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Germany: Public transport workers launch nationwide strike

February 2, 2024

Public transport workers in Germany, led by the Verdi union, have initiated a 24-hour strike, causing widespread disruptions. The strike affects buses and trams in all federal states except Bavaria.

A sign which says "warning strike" is stuck to a fence during a nationwide strike called by the Verdi trade union
Trams and buses are a necessary means of transportation for many Germans, as much of the population does not own a carImage: Liesa Johannssen/REUTERS

Local public transport workers in Germany began a fresh 24-hour strike early Friday, posing a nightmare for morning commuters and travelers.

The industrial action backed by Labor union Verdi has prompted the cancellation of buses and trams in all German federal states, except for Bavaria.

Verdi is urging better working conditions for public transport employees, among other demands. Verdi is negotiating with transit authorities amid the industrial action. 

A worker in the western German city of Essen sticks a poster with the word "strike" over a tram in its depot
Around 80 German cities are targeted by the industrial actionImage: Fabian Strauch/dpa/picture alliance

The Verdi union represents some 90,000 transport workers at around 130 municipal transit agencies. 

Climate group Fridays for Future Germany has also endorsed the public transport action. 

Hamburg Airport ground staff also take action

Meanwhile, ground staff at Hamburg Airport have also been called by Verdi to strike. This has canceled some flights at the airport in Germany's second-biggest city, although operations remain mostly normal for now. 

Hamburg Airport called on travelers to plan enough time before their flight departure due to the strike. Passengers are advised to fly with only carry-on luggage and reduce their number of check-in bags to a minimum. 

The strike at Hamburg Airport comes after security staff at German airports across the country stopped working on Thursday. In addition to Hamburg, Frankfurt, Bremen, Berlin, Leipzig, Cologne/Bonn and other cities were impacted, disrupting travel for over 200,000 passengers. 

Yesterday's airport strike, however, did not impact Munich and Nuremberg airports in southern Germany. Security employees there are in the public sector, and adhere to a different union contract than other airports. 

wd/rt (Reuters, dpa)