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Hesse: New strikes at private bus companies from Friday |

Public transport commuters across Hesse are likely to encounter problems again from Friday: then the private bus companies will go on strike. The most recent strike was just a few weeks ago.

Everyone who has to rely on the bus in larger cities will have strenuous days ahead of them. The Verdi union has called for a strike at private bus companies this Friday, Tuesday and Wednesday (May 21st and 22nd). The reason is that collective bargaining for the around 6,000 employees in the sector has been interrupted again.

Affected are Deutsche Bahn bus operations in northeast Hesse (Homberg/Efze, Melsungen and Rotenburg) as well as bus operations in Fulda, Gießen, Frankfurt, Maintal (Main-Kinzig), Offenbach, Oberursel (Hochtaunus), Hanau, Nidderau, Büdingen (both Wetterau), Gelnhausen, Bad Homburg, Weiterstadt (Darmstadt-Dieburg), Rüsselsheim and Wiesbaden.

All bus routes in Frankfurt are expected to be affected

For Frankfurt, the local public transport company Traffiq announced on Wednesday that almost all 68 bus routes are expected to be on strike. This also includes line 61, which is otherwise regularly used by visitors to the regional folk festival Wäldchestag in the city forest.

However, Traffiq said customers could use other public transport such as S-Bahn, trams, regional trains, subways and two minibus lines.

Long shifts, short breaks

According to Verdi, there is a dramatic shortage of personnel in the private bus industry. The union complains about excessively long shifts, shared shifts, short breaks, countless overtime and high levels of sick leave.

In the current collective bargaining dispute with the State Association of Hessian Bus Contractors (LHO), the union is demanding, among other things, more money for the approximately 6,000 employees. Salaries are to increase twice by 8.5 percent each time, and Verdi is also demanding inflation compensation of 3,000 euros.

The employers’ association LHO rejected Verdi’s demands as unfinanceable. That’s why the negotiations ultimately failed. “The topics that were particularly controversial were break regulations, pay, holiday rostering and inflation compensation,” said negotiator Jochen Koppel, “i.e. almost everything.” The union and employers’ association have agreed on a new negotiation date for May 24th.

LHO managing director and negotiator Volker Tuchan said on Thursday that he considered the warning strikes to be “unnecessary and no longer appropriate” with a view to an agreed further round of collective bargaining. Split days of strikes around the Pentecost weekend particularly irritated the passengers “who have to suffer from this”. The “strike, a tool that has been repeatedly strained,” is “no longer helpful in the complex collective bargaining disputes of 2024.”

Second strike within a few weeks

Verdi had already called on the workforce to go on a warning strike on April 24th, so many trips were canceled. There was little impact of the strike in April in the large cities, as other collective agreements apply to many drivers in Kassel, Marburg, Darmstadt and Wiesbaden and there were therefore no cancellations. In Frankfurt, despite the lack of buses, guests were mostly able to switch to other modes of transport.

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