Germany is in the middle of a four-day strike by the train drivers. The media are telling us we’re supposed to hate the strikers because they’re ruining the country. But I’m not the only one who swoons for the Gewerkschaft Deutscher Lokomotivführer. I say: GDL, how much do I love thee? Let me count the ways…
1. Free coffee! You can walk into any big train station and the Deutsche Bahn will give you free coffee or tea. Rather than raise pay for the workers, the company is trying to bribe us with hot water to turn against the strikers. Well, I’ll take the coffee and still support the GDL!
2. Take the bus! I can’t afford to take the train out of Berlin even when it’s running. Buses are cheaper, and include free Wi-fi (it occasionally even works!).
3. Against the BILD! The right-wing tabloid BILD is portraying the leader of the GDL as some kind of demon. We’ll I’m for anything the BILD is against. That’s just a question of principle.
4. Fewer suicides! Every year, almost 1000 people kill themselves by lying down on train tracks. So a four-day train strike will, statistically, save nine lives.
5. Nazis blocked! This Sunday, a coalition of Nazis and right-wing hooligans want to hold a demonstration in Berlin. The train strike means it will be harder for them to arrive.
6. Exercise! There’s nothing like a bike ride in the brisk autumn air.
7. See the media lie! If you read the newspapers these days, you’d think every single person in Germany is against the strike. But in the ZDF’s online poll, with over 14,000 participants, so far 85 percent of people have expressed understanding. Published opinion is not always the same as public opinion!
8. Show it to the Bonzen! Those old men in suits might be good at privatising state assets in order to make themselves fabulously wealthy. But not one of them knows how to make a train go. Every once in a while, it’s good to remind them that it’s working schmucks like us who keep the country running.
9. Defend the right to strike! The media are campaigning to restrict the train drivers’ right to strike. If the GDL loses, that will make it harder for all workers in Germany to fight for their rights.
10. Follow their example! The next time you have a problem at work, remind your boss you could “pull a GDL”.
11. Arrive late! These days, you can show up 30 minutes late to any appointment. Just shrug and say “GDL-Streik“.
And if all of that didn’t convince you:
12. Free cookies! When you go to the train station to get your free coffee (see point 1), make sure to ask for free cookies. I’m in favour of anything that involves me getting sweets.