German Rail Strike

Remember when ... Sixt named the Chief of the GDL (Gewerkschaft Deutscher Lokomotivführer) Train Conductor's Union as their "Employee of the Month"? The year was 2014 and the citizens of Germany were facing the longest rail worker strike ever. In fact, the proposed strike became a series of strikes that extended through 2014 and 2015. A conductor's strike in Germany is a big deal, not only for freight but passenger traffic. And with almost 19,000 conductors on strike in Germany alone, only a small percentage of trains were operational. Every other form of transit was queued up to benefit at the rail system's expense -- airlines, buses, and rental cars.

Sixt is attuned to the business and political environment in Germany (where the company was founded). Sixt is known for splashy (and orange) advertising. While rental car companies in the United States might take a diplomatic tact when another transportation system was unavailable, Sixt was rejoicing in the uptick in business. Their advertisements even featured Claus Weselsky, the leader of the GDL rail union perceived to be causing inconvenience to travelers!

Our Employee of the Month.
Cheap car hire at all train stations and at

In the German version of a mic drop, Sixt's response to a train conductors strike was to issue a rental car sale at railroad stations. This tactic wouldn't work well in the United States -- comparatively few citizens ride Amtrak and there are few major rail hubs. Yet in a region where rail is far more prevalent, Sixt reminds us that Germans have an impeccable and timely sense of humor!


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