Local news translated – Jan 29, 2024

Graphic by U.S. Army Garrison Stuttgart Public Affairs Office

Host Nation Update, Jan. 29, 2024

Large farmers’ demonstration on Tuesday in Bad Cannstatt

Once again, the state capital is likely to be the scene of a large tractor parade this Tuesday, Jan. 30.

The nationwide protests by farmers are continuing – and will reach Stuttgart in the form of a rally. Several thousand participants with numerous vehicles are expected to paralyze traffic. The destination is not Stuttgart city center, but the Cannstatter Wasen. The journey there will take place as a rally on various routes from all over the state.

Each individual route will include several hundred vehicles, which will move slowly. The farmers want to meet at the Wasen between 10 a.m and 1 p.m. This will be followed by a rally from 1 p.m. to 3 p.m., after which the journey home is planned. The organizer is once again the association “Land schafft Verbindung Baden-Württemberg” (LSV). They are hoping for a large mobilization.

However, it is difficult to estimate in advance how many participants will come to Stuttgart. “We hope that there will be at least as many as on December 21,” says second chairman Marc Berger. According to police estimates, at least 2,000 tractors rolled into the state capital back then. The public order office has registered 3000 to 5000 participants with several thousand vehicles, who are to roll up from all over the country on at least half a dozen routes in a rally. Some of the farmers will be accompanied by the police and then join up with other columns at meeting points. “We have now heard that there could be as many as 900 vehicles on one of the routes alone,” says Berger.

It is therefore to be expected that there will be considerable traffic disruption around Stuttgart both on the approach on Tuesday morning and on the return journey in the afternoon. “We are expecting problems on the major entry and exit roads and will be deploying appropriate forces,” says a Stuttgart police spokesperson.

The B10, B14, B27 and B29 are likely to be particularly affected again, possibly also the Autobahn. Drivers should avoid the area around the event site on the Wasen (Bad Cannstatt) if possible, especially as the farmers have also called on logisticians, bakers, butchers and various other trades to take part.

Despite the concessions made by the federal government – such as the exemption from vehicle tax for agricultural vehicles – many farmers are still very annoyed. “The mood is still such that people want to protest. The willingness to do so has only diminished slightly as a result of the compromise,” says Berger. The LSV has also emphasized from the outset that it is not just about issues such as agricultural diesel, but about the overall situation of the industry. Increasing CO2 pricing, for example, is the next difficulty. “The big problem for us is still that we can’t pass on our costs,” says Berger. Farmers must be able to make a living from their work, according to the call for protest action. The LSV has presented a list of demands.” (Stuttgarter Nachrichten, Jan 29)

Verdi calls for strike in local transport on Friday

Verdi is calling for warning strikes on Friday to accelerate the wage dispute in the state’s local public transport sector. The main aim of this nationally coordinated wage round is to ease the burden on transport services.

While Deutsche Bahn is taking a break from strike action, there is a threat of further unrest in local public transport. Verdi Baden-Württemberg is calling for a first warning strike on Friday. The reason given is the lack of movement at the negotiating table. In the first round on Monday, the Baden-Württemberg Municipal Employers’ Association (KAV) did not present an offer for the approximately 6500 employees.

The all-day work stoppages will affect the municipal transport companies in Stuttgart, Esslingen, Karlsruhe, Heilbronn, Freiburg, Baden-Baden and Konstanz – in particular the Stuttgart streetcars (SSB), the Esslingen municipal transport company (SVE) and the HNV transport association in Heilbronn. Verdi expects that there will be no buses and trains (U-Bahn) from the companies on strike in these cities on Friday, although many private companies in Esslingen will continue to operate.

The warning strikes are taking place simultaneously in almost all federal states (excluding Bavaria), where regional wage negotiations are currently underway for a total of more than 130 companies with 90,000 employees. Verdi had previously worked towards a concerted action. This affects local transport services in 81 cities and 42 districts. Verdi vice-president Christine Behle regretted that passengers would also be affected by the actions. However, the warning strikes would be announced well in advance so that customers could prepare for them. Since the beginning of January, there has no longer been a peace obligation. Presumably, even larger waves of warning strikes are to be expected in this conflict. (Stuttgarter Nachrichten, Jan. 30)