Rail passengers in Germany face two days of disruptions and cancellations this week as train drivers stage a new round of walkouts in their months-long pay dispute, operator Deutsche Bahn said Tuesday.
Board member Ulrich Homburg said that two out of three long-distance trains and as many as five out of every six regional trains would be cancelled on Wednesday and Thursday.
The strikes - the seventh round of industrial action in ten months - would lead to "considerable disruptions" in cargo services from Tuesday afternoon and in passenger services on Wednesday and Thursday, Homburg said.
Around one third of long-distance passenger trains would run as normal, and between 15 and 60 per cent of regional train services, the board member said.
Deutsche Bahn said it has set up special telephone hotlines to handle queries from passengers who will also be able to change their tickets free of charge or receive money back.
The BDI industry federation accused the drivers' union GDL of "losing all sense of proportion", and suggested the walkouts could cost the German economy "up to 100 million euros per day." GDL has been locked in a bitter dispute with management for a number of months, primarily on the employees it wants to represent, but also on wages and working hours.