French lessons for German strikers

2007

Strikes have moved their way across France and into Germany where railway conductors are currently protesting pay and working conditions.

While the Germans aren't as well known as their French neighbors for their ability to put on a good strike, they certainly know how to organize a good walk-out when they want to.

Last week, the Train Drivers union said that it was ready to strike until Christmas if necessary. Of course, this puts them on course with the government for a deadly game of chicken. As it is, the German economy risks losing up to 500 million euros per day if the strike lasts more than a week.

While striking remains one of the most effective, albeit last-minute, ways of obtaining reforms, it's important to remember to focus efforts on those who can better the situation. By acting to shut down railway service to the entire country during arguably the most important time of the economic calendar risks hurting a lot more people than it does helping.

While the union still maintains public support, the supportive public will quickly tire if this goes on through the entire holiday season. Can you blame them?

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