Striking West Berlin employees of the East german state railways -- the Reichsbahn -- chose a central strike committee on Thursday night (18 September) to lead their fight for higher pay and free trade unions.
GV Empty goods wagon on tracks at railway siding.
CU PAN Closed signal TO GV more carriages on track.
GV Empty platforms of "S-Bahn" urban railways.
CU & SV Striking workers in front of Reichsbahn Container depot.
SV Banner saying "we are on strike" on depot wall.
SV Reichsbahn officials in signal-box.
SV PAN Striking workers outside container depot. (3 SHOTS)
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Background: Striking West Berlin employees of the East german state railways -- the Reichsbahn -- chose a central strike committee on Thursday night (18 September) to lead their fight for higher pay and free trade unions. The strikers said that if their demands were not met they would cut off all West Berlin 's rail links with West Germany.
SYNOPSIS: The strike has already stopped all goods trains in the 175 km (110 mile) rail corridor through East Germany connecting West Berlin with West Germany. The Reichsbahn also runs Berlin's urban transit system, and in West Berlin, the strike has left urban stations deserted. The East Berlin and East German sections are not affected, East German Reichsbahn workers have not joined their Western colleagues.
Strike leaders at a meeting on Thursday said about half of the 3,500 West berliners employed by the Reichsbahn had downed tools. The workers, 90 percent of whom are members of the East German Trade Union Confederation (FDGB), are demanding the right to be represented by unions of their choice. They also want a pay rise of 90 dollars (US) a month, longer paid holidays and better social security provisions.
The Reichsbahn has responded to the workers' demands by sacking 10 of the strikers and threatening others with dismissal if they do not return to work. It is the first time West Berlin Reichsbahn workers have staged a strike since 1949. Then they won the right to be paid in West German currency.