Railmen seek W. Berlin takeover
Stiking railmen have called on the West berlin government to take control of the city's East Germanrun railway system. The strikers, West Berliners employed by the East German Reichsbahn, are demanding higher pay and more trade union rights. They say they are no longer prepared to work for East Berlin because the Reichsbahn has shown no interest in negotiating their demands, and East Germany has branded them criminals and terrorists.
The strike has paralyzed the S-bahn system in th city and severed all freight traffic between West Berlin and West Germany, some 110 miles away across East German territory. Passenger service between West Berlin and West Germany was also blockaded over the weekend, but the strikers ceased the action Monday, saying they did not want to cause further inconvenience to innocent travelers.
The three allies controlling West Berlin -- the United States, Britain, and France -- have ultimate authority over the operating rights for the railroad and would have to agree to any transfer of ownership. Allied and West Berlin spolesmen declined to comment on the demand, saying they need time to study it. But West Geman Chancellor Helmut Schmidt has hinted that he might favor a radical solution to the strike.