Union strikes bring Germany public transport network to halt
Berlin, March 27 (IANS) Two of Germany's largest unions launched a strike on Monday which will bring the country's transport network to a near standstill.
Shortly after midnight, staff at airports, ports, railways, buses and subways walked out for the 24-hour strike, reports the BBC.
The two unions -- Verdi and EVG -- are demanding higher wages to help their members cope with the rising cost of living across the country.
While Verdi represents around 2.5 million employees across the public sector, including in public transport and airports; EVG represents around 230,000 employees at Deutsche Bahn -- Germany's national rail operator -- and other bus companies.
There have been multiple smaller walkouts by other public service sectors, but Monday's will be the largest in decades in the country.
Frank Werneke, the chief of Verdi described the pay rise as "a matter of survival for many thousands of employees, according to local media.
"The people are not only underpaid, they are hopelessly overworked," the BBC quoted Werneke as saying.
Verdi wants to secure a 10.5 per cent pay rise for staff, while EVG has demanded a 12 per cent raise.
Meanwhile, Deutsche Bahn has condemned the plans and described it as "completely excessive, groundless and unnecessary".
At Munich Airport, multiple flights have been disrupted by the walkout.
Germany's airport association said about 380,000 air travellers would be affected by the strike but added that it was "beyond any imaginable and justifiable measure".
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