GERMAN train drivers began a 66-hour strike over higher pay and greater union influence, expected to cost as much as EUR100 million (US$107 million) a day in production stoppages, Reuters reports.
Despite this, Deutsche Bahn said that it aims to have about one third of trains running.
Twenty per cent of German freight moves by rail and millions of commuters use trains every day.
The union, the Gewerkschaft Deutscher Lokomotivfuhrer (GDL), representing 10 per cent of Deutsche Bahn’s 200,000 workers, wants five per cent more pay, a shortened work week of 37 hours instead of 39 and the right to negotiate for other rail workers.
The Bundesverband der Deutschen Industrie (BDI) industry association said the strike would hit the whole country and that after a few days, the cost of disruption from assembly line stoppages could balloon to as much as EUR100 million a day.
"GDL is acting irresponsibly and has lost all sense of proportion," BDI manager Dieter Schweer said, adding that chemical, steel and auto sectors could be hardest hit
Germany’s steel industry association, which transports 200,000 tonnes of raw materials and steel daily by rail, said a three-day strike would cause "huge problems" and could cost the sector millions of euros in additional costs.
The DIHK chambers of commerce also criticised the strike, with chief economist Alexander Schumann saying it was not only an annoyance for commuters but that it could cost firms "a significant amount of money".
Source : HKSG.