The sudden general strike on German railways has brought more disruption and shock to European supply chains already coping with the disruption caused by the strike on the Flemish route in Belgium.
Germany’s GDL union announced on Wednesday that the strike would continue through the weekend – disrupting both freight and passenger services; It is the latest move by the union in an ongoing dispute with state-owned operator Deutsche Bahn (DB).
DB has developed a sound strategy to mitigate the impact of the strike on its passenger services, but its freight division has been disproportionately affected.
The company has reportedly focused its efforts on ensuring continuity of operations connecting the German industrial sector, but has warned that the possibility of production stalling “cannot be ruled out” due to delays and cancellations caused by the strike.
Talks between Deutsche Bahn and the German National Workers’ Union broke down at the end of November, with unions still seeking a reduction in the working week from 38 hours to 35. The group is also seeking a €555 monthly salary increase for its members and a one-off compensation bonus of €3,000 as workers continue to grapple with the pressures of soaring inflation.
The Bundesbank has refused to change working hours, citing continued growth in the labor force, but is willing to increase wages by 11 percent.
For Europe’s supply chain managers, the walkout, though short-lived, only added to the difficulties faced by the Belgian shipping route strike, affecting the continent’s second-largest container port, the Port of Antwerp.
The port of Antwerp said the strike action began on Monday and it was “difficult to predict” how long it would last.
Inchcape Shipping Services (ISS) released the latest news on the 8th that the Port of Antwerp has eight incoming ships and four departing ships have experienced delays. Delays at the port of Zeebrugge have decreased, but there is still a backlog of six arrivals and two departures.
The company said it could not guarantee a return to normal operations until the strike was officially over. No end date has been announced for the strike action.