German rail strike may hit World Cup

January 18, 2006

BERLIN, Jan 18 (Reuters) - German railway workers may stage strikes during the World Cup if the government moves to split up the state-owned rail operator Deutsche Bahn.

'We don't want to but if necessary we will strike during the World Cup,' Klaus-Dieter Hommel, the head of one of two unions representing German railway workers, was quoted as saying in the Sueddeutsche Zeitung newspaper on Wednesday.

Germany's transport minister said this week that the government would decide later this year what steps it would take to prepare Deutsche Bahn for a stock market listing.

He said one option would be to split Bahn into two firms, one operating tracks and the other operating trains.

Deutsche Bahn is planning to run extra services during the World Cup in June and July and is offering special 'Weltmeister' (world champion) tariffs.

The ticket prices, 54, 74 and 90 euros, are based on the years Germany won the World Cup.