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German rail travelers can expect heavy delays in the run-up to Christmas. Workers have gone on a four-hour strike across the country and threatened further action after salary negotiations with Deutsche Bahn broke down.
Rail passengers in Germany have been warned to expect cancellations and delays on Monday after pay talks between the country's main railway company Deutsche Bahn (DB) and the EVG rail trade union broke down without agreement.
The so-called warning strike by track and repair workers is expected to cause widespread disruption to the rail network across Germany and will take effect just a day after DB increased the price of rail tickets by an average of 1.9 percent.
What travelers need to know:
[img]https://www.dw.com/image/46249723_401.jpg[/img]It is unclear how many of EVG's 136,000 members will take part in Monday's strike action
Further strikes threatened: Although no additional rail strikes have been announced yet, EVG warned that further warning strikes can be expected during the pre-Christmas rush. A separate union, the Union of German Locomotive Drivers (GDL), is expected to continue its parallel talks with DB on Tuesday but warned that its 36,000 members could also take action if wage negotiations talks fail.
Dispute over pay: EVG, which represents some 160,000 rail workers, blamed DB bosses for the breakdown of talks early on Saturday morning in Hamburg, insisting the new pay scale offered by the rail firm was too low. The rail firm, meanwhile, called the walkout a "totally unnecessary escalation."
DB says it offered staff a total pay increase of 5.1 percent in two increments and a one-time payment of €500 ($569). EVG said it was holding out for an extra percentage point in salary hike, and union officials would only return to negotiations once DB makes clear it is willing to increase its offer.
Busiest time of year: Monday's strike is likely to cause widespread disapproval among rail passengers, who regularly complain about cancellations and trains being late, and endure some of the highest rail ticket prices in Europe.
This article first appeared on www.dw.com
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