“The damage will be significantly higher”
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The pandemic will be even more expensive for Deutsche Bahn than previously expected. But the employees do not want to share in the additional costs. Instead, strikes threaten in the spring.
I.In December, the board of directors of Deutsche Bahn (DB) estimated the damage from Corona at around ten billion euros – by 2024. Now, just a few weeks later, the state-owned company announced: “The effects of newly imposed and extended lockdown measures are currently still not reliable foreseeable. “
There are some indications that the December estimate may be out of date. “The damage will now be significantly higher than expected last year,” says Klaus-Dieter Hommel WELT AM SONNTAG. Hommel is head of the railway and transport union (EVG) and deputy chairman of the supervisory board of the railway. “We assume that the damage will be four to five billion more than originally assumed by 2024.” So who should compensate for these additional costs?
“We have never closed negotiations, but we see no scope for further participation by employees in the even higher costs of the corona pandemic at Deutsche Bahn,” says Hommel. “The federal government must increase its promised support.”
Last year, the federal government, the railways and the EVG agreed that the federal government would assume half of the damage and the other half would be borne by the railways. Half of this should help the employees to save by accepting lower collective bargaining agreements. However, only the EVG agreed to the alliance, the train drivers’ union GDL took a stand.
Therefore, there is now a threat of a strike in spring. “We expect that the GDL will try to top the moderate collective agreement of the EVG”, says Hommel. But that will not work. “Because the federal government would have to pay for a higher wage increase. Deutsche Bahn cannot pay for it. ”Hommel therefore believes there will be a strike. “But I warn against ruining the company with such a dispute.”
Board of Directors defends itself against forced sale
However, it is unclear where the money for the higher losses should come from. The federal government will hardly want to transfer any more to the railway. The federal government is already wrestling with the EU Commission for approval because of the previously planned five billion euros contribution to equity. Brussels wants to link this with conditions. Even a forced sale of trains to competitors was discussed, according to information from WELT AM SONNTAG. The government would probably agree to this, but the railway board is resisting. According to “Spiegel” also because he should no longer receive any bonuses.
On Friday, Transport Minister Andreas Scheuer (CSU) phoned Competition Commissioner Margrethe Vestager, initially without any result. The EU seems to insist on its conditions. A spokesman said it had to be “ensured that competition within the rail sector is maintained”. The opposition in the Bundestag sees it that way too. “If the federal government sticks to the equity grant, the EU should only approve such aid under certain conditions,” says the Greens’ rail policy spokesman, Matthias Gastel. In addition to transparency about what the money is used for, the sale of the Arriva and Schenker parts of the company should also be part of it.
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