German rail workers' union calls nationwide strike on Saturday

BERLIN (Reuters) - The German rail workers' union GDL said train drivers would hold another token strike nationwide from from 6am to 9am local time on Saturday to back their demands for higher wages and a shorter work week.

The union, which represents about 37,000 drivers, conductors and shunters, wants a pay rise of 5 per cent and a working week reduced from the current 39 hours to 37.

Rail workers staged a three-hour token strike on Monday evening. State-owned rail operator Deutsche Bahn said on Monday it had made a new offer to GDL and demanded the union call off the action. Deutsche Bahn board member Ulrich Weber on Friday criticised the union's actions as "completely irrational".

German airline Lufthansa cancelled hundreds of flights on Friday as pilots held a second strike within a week, this time for six hours at Frankfurt airport, in a row over an early retirement scheme.

Fully fledged strikes are rare in Germany, Europe's largest economy. Unions instead tend to stage token stoppages for a few hours.