German transport strike is most felt on the countryside.German transport strike is most felt on the countryside.
  • German transport strike is most felt on the countryside
  • Destatis: Public transport workforce demographically challenged

(Berlin, Germany) — Germany is experiencing a significant disruption in its public transportation Friday due to a nationwide strike by public transport workers. This strike, organized by the labor union Verdi, has led to the standstill of bus and tram services across the country, affecting millions of commuters and travelers. Meanwhile, Germany’s public transport sector faces demographic challenges such as an aging workforce and low female representation, destatis said Friday. The proportion of 55+ age group among bus and tram drivers bus and streetcar drivers is above average.

The strike, lasting for 24 hours, is observed in all federal states except Bavaria. Verdi’s demands center around improved working conditions, including reduced working hours and increased holiday entitlements. The strike is part of a series of industrial actions that have recently impacted Germany’s transportation sector. Notably, this action coincides with a strike by security staff at several German airports, including Hamburg Airport, which has led to significant flight cancellations and delays, impacting around 200,000 travelers.

The Verdi union, representing approximately 90,000 transport workers, has emphasized the severe labor shortage and the immense pressure on public transport employees. Additionally, the youth and climate movement Fridays for Future has expressed support for the strike, emphasizing the need for better working conditions and a sustainable future for public transportation.

This situation is causing widespread disruption in Germany, with additional actions such as a strike by Hamburg Airport’s ground service staff adding to the travel complications【6†source】【7†source】【8†source】.

In 2022, the number of bus and tram drivers in Germany saw a notable increase of nearly 6%, reaching 145,000. This growth is significant in the context of the ongoing mobility transition and the need for efficient public transportation. However, the age structure within this profession presents looming challenges: Approximately 40% of these drivers are aged 55 or older, a figure substantially higher than the nearly 26% in the general working population.

The composition of the workforce in terms of gender and nationality is also noteworthy. Women are significantly underrepresented in this field, making up only 15% compared to a 47% representation in the overall workforce. Moreover, 24% of bus and tram drivers are of foreign nationality, surpassing the 14% average in the general workforce.

These statistics, provided by the Federal Statistical Office (Destatis), shed light on the demographic and social shifts within the industry. They highlight the increasing importance of public transportation while also pointing to upcoming challenges, such as the impending retirement of a substantial portion of the workforce and the need to attract more women to the profession.

Germany’s shift towards more sustainable mobility relies heavily on bolstering public transportation. The rise in the number of bus and tram drivers marks a positive step in this direction. Yet, the sector faces the challenge of rejuvenating its workforce and enhancing female participation to ensure a sustainable and diverse workforce for the future.

By Silvia Orfeo

Silvia Orfeo is a Sr. Politics and Economics Reporter at Nobot.News

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