German train strike estimated to cost euro 100m a day: press


Berlin, Aug 7, IRNA The upcoming strike by German train drivers is estimated to cost German businesses around 100 million euros per day, news reports said Tuesday quoting the Berlin-based economic think-tank, the German Institute for Economic Research (DIW).

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Germany’s state-owned rail network Deutsche Bahn (DB) reiterated that no new offer will be made to the train drivers’ union GDL ahead of a strike ultimatum, set to expire later in the day.

The GDL, seeking a 31 percent pay raise and a separate labor contract, hopes to paralyze Germany’s vital cargo train traffic effective Thursday.

The labor walkout will especially affect the automobile, steel and metal industry which “rely heavily” on cargo trains, according to DIW economist Claudia Kemfert.

A production stop could very quickly incur huge costs, she added.

Kemfert estimated that a nationwide rail strike may cause between “two and three digit” million euro economic losses.

Germany’s trucking firms are expected to benefit as many companies, especially in the household and food industry, will send their goods by trucks.

Meanwhile, German Transportation Minister Wolfgang Tiefensee urged both sides to compromise.

A settlement of the labor conflict is only possible,”if extreme position are abandoned”, the minister told the daily Saarbruecker Zeitung.

The center-rightist German government has refused to intervene in the labor crisis, arguing that salary deals are made in Germany on the grounds of strict autonomy from the government, even in the matter of the state-owned DB.