Germany: Train strike hits millions of passengers

Crowded commuters in Berlin's Alexanderplatz Image copyright Getty Images
Image caption Commuters crowd at a platform in Berlin's Alexanderplatz during the strike

Millions of commuters in Germany have faced widespread delays after a strike by railworkers over pay halted trains.

Inter-city and regional services, along with many urban commuter networks, were hit, operator Deutsche Bahn (DB) said.

The four-hour strike ended at 09:00 (08:00 GMT) but delays were expected to continue throughout the day.

The strike came after talks broke down on Saturday between DB and railworkers' union EVG, which has demanded a 7.5% salary rise for 160,000 DB employees.

"It is our colleagues who work around the clock, 365 days a year, to ensure passenger and freight traffic in Germany... despite permanent staff shortages and the resulting many overtime," EVG's Managing Director Torsten Westphal said in a statement.

"We return to the negotiating table when DB AG makes it clear they we want to negotiate seriously with us."

Image copyright Anadolu Agency
Image caption An information display at a station in Berlin shows widespread delays in rail operations

DB criticised the strike by EVG, Germany's largest railworkers' union, as a "completely unnecessary escalation," and in a tweet denied that it had broken off the talks.

The rail operator said it had offered a 5.1% pay rise in two stages and a one-off payment of €500 (£448; $570). DB says that these, together, are equivalent to a 7% rise.

The latest wave of strikes come only a day after DB increased the price of rail tickets by an average of 1.9%.

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