A passenger walks on an empty platform in the main train station in Frankfurt during a nationwide strike Monday morning in Germany. Photo by Armando Babani/EPA
Dec. 10 (UPI) -- A 4-hour train strike in Germany disrupted commuter and long-distance service for millions of people during rush hour Monday morning.
Workers walked off the job after pay talks between Deutsche Bahn and the EVG rail trade union, which represents some 160,000 rail workers, broke down without agreement. Service resumed at 9 a.m. but disruptions continued through the day, rail operator Deutsche Bahn said in a report by Deutsche Welle.
Union representatives plan to meet with Deutsche Bahn on Tuesday after negotiations in pay broke down.
"Our primary goal is to reach an agreement at the negotiating table," said Regina Rusch-Ziemba, EVG's chief negotiator.
The rail firm called the walkout a "totally unnecessary escalation."
Long-distance trains as well as regional and S-Bahn city trains were affected. Because of the lack of train service, residents caused major slowdowns on the roads. Commuters also resorted to subways, buses and trams.
On Sunday, DB increased the price of rail tickets by an average of 1.9 percent.
DB said it would reimburse travelers who had to cancel travel plans because of the strikes and has advised travelers to delay their travel plans until after the strike ends.
The rail firm offered a pay increase of 5.1 percent in two increments and a one-time payment of $569 that is an equivalent of 7 percent increase.
EVG and and the Union of German Locomotive Drivers, which honored the strike, said they want a 7.5 percent increase. And EVG also wants a right for workers to forgo that increase for more time off or shorter hours.
"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 obtained by the BBC.