Germany relaxes Sunday lorry ban ahead of strike but traffic jams unlikely
Ten of Germany’s 16 states have relaxed the ban – which usually applies on Sundays from midnight to 10pm for lorries over 7.5 tonnes – for this Sunday.
Schleswig-Holstein, Hamburg, Mecklenburg-Western Pomerania, North Rhine-Westphalia, Rhineland-Palatinate, Hesse, Saarland, Baden-Württemberg, Bavaria and Saxony-Anhalt have all said they would either not check compliance with the ban this Sunday or would lift it completely for the day.
Germany’s Transport Minister Volker Wissing (FDP) had previously spoken out in favour of relaxing the Sunday ban ahead of the strike.
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But waiving checks in the ten federal states is unlikely to cause any traffic jams on the motorways, North Rhine-Westphalia Transport Industry and Logistics Association told DPA.
“We’ll see a few hundred more lorries on the Autobahn… But it’s not like we have to fear traffic jams,” said Marcus Hover, deputy general manager of the association on Saturday, explaining that the measure had come very late for the industry so haulage had long been forward-planned.
Monday’s day of action – which is being branded a ‘Mega Strike’ – looks set to be Germany’s largest in around 30 years.
Two big German unions – Verdi and the Eisenbahn- und Verkehrsgewerkschaft (EVG) – are coordinating their strikes to get maximum possible leverage from public sector employers, as they seek a 10.5 percent wage increase to help their workers combat cost of living increases.
The walk-out will see massive disruption on transport networks around the country, with chaos expected on local buses, trams and trains, on long-distance trains, and at airports.