After a major warning strike in public transport at the end of March, things have remained largely calm for train travelers – now on Friday there are again significant restrictions in long-distance and regional transport. There will also be industrial action again at some airports. Overall, however, the scope of the campaigns is significantly lower than last time. What travelers have to be prepared for on Thursday and Friday:

Who is on strike, when and where?

In the collective bargaining dispute with around 50 railway companies, the railway and transport union (EVG) has called for nationwide warning strikes in long-distance and regional transport this Friday. Employees are said to stop work between 3 a.m. and 11 a.m. Long-distance, regional and S-Bahn trains across the country are affected. The sister union Verdi, in turn, has announced warning strikes for Thursday and Friday at Cologne/Bonn, Düsseldorf, Hamburg and Stuttgart airports in the aviation security area, in passenger control, personnel and goods control and in service areas. “In connection with the strike, longer waiting times and even flight cancellations or cancellations are to be expected,” the union warned on Tuesday.

What effects can be expected?

As was the case at the end of March, the impact on rail is likely to be significant. Deutsche Bahn wants to completely stop long-distance traffic in the morning. From 1 p.m. it should start up again gradually. “Nevertheless, nationwide effects of the strike on ICE and IC trains are to be expected on Friday until the early evening hours,” it said. “Everyone who can reschedule should do so,” said Group HR Director Martin Seiler in Berlin on Wednesday. In regional and S-Bahn traffic, on the other hand, after the end of the strike, “as many connections as possible should be offered again in a timely manner according to the regular timetable”. However, further restrictions are to be expected here in the course of the afternoon.

Passengers at Cologne/Bonn, Düsseldorf, Hamburg and Stuttgart airports also have to be prepared for significant disabilities. “According to the current status, around 700 departures will not take place at the airports DUS, HAM CGN,” said the airport association ADV on Wednesday. Around 100,000 passengers are affected. Hamburg Airport announced, for example, that all departures would be canceled due to the warning strike on Thursday and Friday. Longer waiting times, flight cancellations or cancellations are expected in Stuttgart on Friday.

Can I postpone my trip without paying extra?

Yes, Deutsche Bahn has again promised goodwill arrangements. All passengers who want to postpone their trip planned for Friday due to the warning strike should be able to use their ticket flexibly until April 25th. The prerequisite is that you have booked the trip up to and including April 18th.

Trains, ships, airplanes – will everything stand still again?

No, there will not be such an extensive warning strike as at the end of March this time. At that time, EVG, together with Verdi, had largely brought public transport in Germany to a standstill with a 24-hour warning strike. In addition to rail, almost all German airports except Berlin were affected, as were ship and port traffic. The warning strike on the railways is now limited to a few hours in the morning and in the morning. “For us it’s not about punishing passengers,” said EVG collective bargaining officer Cosima Ingenschay. “On the contrary: We are only interested in increasing the pressure on the employer.” With Dusseldorf it hits one of the largest German airports. However, other important hubs such as Frankfurt and Munich will remain in operation.

The EVG emphasized on Wednesday that the parallel warning strikes on Friday were just a coincidence. There was no coordination between the unions this time.

Will there be more warning strikes in the coming weeks?

That is quite probable. The EVG is currently in the second round of negotiations with around 50 railway companies. The next meeting with Deutsche Bahn is scheduled for next Tuesday. If there is no agreement, both sides will probably not meet again until the end of May. That’s how long it takes for the EVG to negotiate with the other companies. The union has recently made it clear that warning strikes are conceivable at any time during negotiation rounds.

Verdi, in turn, is negotiating with the federal government and local authorities next Saturday about a proposal for arbitration in the public sector. If no agreement can be reached either, a ballot and indefinite strikes are conceivable.