World Bulletin/News Desk
German train drivers have announced a four-day strike starting late on Wednesday - the longest in modern German history - prompting fears of nationwide travel chaos.
Two thirds of all train services in Germany are expected to be suspended under the industrial action, according to the national rail operator Deutsche Bahn, or DB.
German Train Drivers’ Union GDL, which represents 34,000 of Deutsche Bahn’s 196,000 employees, announced that train drivers and personnel would begin the strike on freight trains on Wednesday at 1400 GMT and on passenger trains at 0100 GMT on Thursday.
The union is demanding a right to negotiate a labor agreement for 27,000 of its members who are train drivers and for 7,000 others who are stewards or support personnel, and is calling for a five percent pay rise and a reduced 37-hour working week.
Germany’s Vice Chancellor and leader of Social Democrat Party (SPD), Sigmar Gabriel, has criticized the union for its strike decision and called on parties to immediately return to the negotiating table.
“Now, we need responsible behavior from all sides for our country,” Gabriel told the German daily Bild.
The union has already held five warning strikes since September this year.
Its four-day strike caused anger among government members due the planned celebration of the 25th anniversary of the fall of the Berlin Wall.Last Mod: 05 Kasım 2014, 17:01