Deutsche Bahn strike delays millions of passengers

A crowded Deutsche Bahn train Image copyright Getty Images
Image caption The passenger rail strike affected commuters on Wednesday morning

Millions of commuters have been hit by delays in Germany after Deutsche Bahn's train drivers went on strike again.

Two in three long-distance trains and hundreds of commuter services have been cancelled from Wednesday morning.

GDL union leader Claus Weselsky has given no end date for the strike, but said it would "last a little longer" than the previous five-day stoppage.

The GDL has staged a series of strikes to call for a 5% pay rise for 20,000 drivers and a shorter working week.

It is also pushing for the right to negotiate on behalf of other train staff, including conductors and restaurant staff.

Deutsche Bahn, which employs 200,000 people, has offered the drivers a 4.7% pay rise plus a one-off €1,000 (£715; $1,110) payment, but refused to allow GDL to negotiate for other workers.

This is the ninth walkout in just 11 months and follows a five-day train strike earlier in May, which was the longest in Deutsche Bahn's 21-year history.

An estimated 5.5 million people travel daily by train in Germany.

Economists estimate that the strike earlier this month cost the German economy some €750m (£541m) in lost activity.

"Strikes hurt everyone and cost time and money," said Ulrich Weber, Deutsche Bahn's personnel chief.

"The GDL is taking Deutsche Bahn customers hostage for egotistical reasons to get more power," said Ingo Kramer, president of Germany's BDA employers' association.

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