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German train drivers strike causes chaos with 700 trains cancelled

A strike by train drivers paralyzed passenger and freight traffic across Germany on Wednesday as the union demanded a better wage offer from rail operator Deutsche Bahn.

The strike, organised by GDL union, coincides with increased demand for rail services following the easing of coronavirus curbs during the peak school holiday season. Stranded travellers stood waiting for their delayed trains at stations across Germany.

Deutsche Bahn spokesperson Achim Stauss called on GdL to return to the negotiating table and said the company was trying to keep one in four normally scheduled long-distance trains operational.

GDL union will decide next week whether and when to continue its strike at Deutsche Bahn after wage talks with the state-owned company failed, according to its chief Claus Weselsky.

Weselsky said the first hours of the strike, which started at 0200 local time (0000 GMT) on Wednesday, were successful. The strike brought around 700 trains to a standstill. 

GDL is demanding wage increases of around 3.2% and a one-time coronavirus allowance of 600 euros ($702.60).

Economists and lobby groups say the strike at the cargo business could exacerbate the already-tight supply chain bottlenecks in Europe's biggest economy.

Germany's VDA car association said the strike will create uncertainties and will harm the logistics industry, which is struggling to recover from the coronavirus crisis.

(Source: Reuters) 

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