Possible railway strike during 2006 world cup

German railway workers may strike over plans by the German government to split up the state-owned rail operator Deutsche Bahn.

Submitted by Steven. on January 25, 2006

"We don't want to but if necessary we will strike during the World Cup," Klaus-Dieter Hommel, the head of one of two unions representing German railway workers, was quoted as saying in the Süddeutsche Zeitung newspaper today.

Railways carry more passengers in Germany than buses or planes, and Deusche Bahn is an official sponsor of the German World Cup organising committee. They will be running extra trains during the June/July tournament and are producing special tickets themed on the years Germany won the tournament.

The government is planning to split the track and rolling stock parts of the company, in preparation for floating it on the stock market.

Norbert Hansen, of the union Transnet, said they would "resist, if necessary with strikes" the moves towards privatisation, and that the new "efficiency" could leave to 50,000 job losses and leave remaining workers on "dramatically worse contracts".

He added: "A strike has to take place when it's needed. That could be July 9 or earlier or later. The politicians will be responsible for the timing."