Labor Dispute

Rail Strikes Brake Industry Confidence

German industry warns of yet another train strike halting the flow of goods and materials.
  • Why it matters

    Why it matters

    If the German train drivers’ union GDL follows through with its threat to continue its strike until Sunday, German industry could face devastating bottlenecks.

  • Facts


    • Each day of the rail strike could cost German industry an estimated €100 million.
    • The announced strike until Sunday will be the worst strike in Deutsche Bahn’s history.
    • Of the train operator’s 20,000 engineers, 4,000 are civil servants and 5,000 are organized in another union not part of the strike.
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Numerous manufacturers in Germany are wondering whether they may be forced to halt production because of the latest train driver strike at Deutsche Bahn, the eighth in the ongoing dispute.

K+S, an agricultural chemical and salt producer listed on Germany’s blue-chip DAX index and the largest customer of Deutsche Bahn in some German states, is busy making alternative plans. If its salt and potassium warehouses are full but the company is unable to ship its raw materials, K+S will have no choice but to send employees home.

That point was never reached during the last seven strikes by Deutsche Bahn but is now a possibility, warn executives at K+S headquarters in the central German city of Kassel. “We normally dispatch 25 freight trains a day,” a spokesman said. “Switching to road transport would cause significant problems.”

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