D.Knight and so far the longest strike for rail customers: The train drivers’ union GDL is calling for a five-day strike in the passenger transport of Deutsche Bahn from this Thursday from 2 a.m. to Tuesday morning in the coming week. In freight transport, the strike is due to start this Wednesday.
“It is one of the longest industrial action that we carry out and that on purpose,” said union chairman Claus Weselsky on Monday in Frankfurt am Main. “In view of the blockade attitude of the DB managers, we do not see ourselves ready and unwilling to carry out shorter industrial action here.”
The Union of German Locomotive Drivers (GDL) advocates higher pay and better working conditions for employees. The GDL also wants to score points in the competition with the larger of the two railway unions, the Railway and Transport Union (EVG).
The labor dispute will hit hundreds of thousands of commuters as well as numerous travelers. The holiday season is running, and there are still school holidays in several federal states.
The most recent strike ended on Wednesday night last week. The train responded with emergency timetables. In long-distance traffic, up to 30 percent of the offer could be maintained, in regional traffic including the S-Bahn it was an average of 40 percent. The day after the previous strikes, traffic was largely normal again.
Since then, there has been no rapprochement with management in the collective bargaining dispute. In interviews over the past few days, railway boss Richard Lutz had called on the union to return to the negotiating table. At the same time, he accused GDL chairman Claus Weselsky of splitting the workforce with false claims.
Weselsky replied on Monday that the railway was waging a war against its own employees and that it could not win it. About Lutz’s remarks, he said: “To put it mildly, we miss the rump what this CEO says.”
Dispute over corona premium
The railway wants to increase wages and salaries by 3.2 percent, as demanded by the GDL. However, the point in time at which the individual levels should take effect and how long the new collective agreement should apply is controversial.
The railway has also offered a corona bonus for this year, but without specifying it. The GDL demands 600 euros. There is also a struggle about company pensions; here both sides have not yet moved towards each other.
The union wants to expand its influence in the railway company. Before this collective bargaining round, she last struck at Deutsche Bahn in 2014 and 2015. So she managed to negotiate a framework tariff for train attendants as well. Now she also wants to set tariffs for vehicle maintenance, network operation and route maintenance as well as the framework conditions for the trainees.
However, this usually represents the EVG, which is why Deutsche Bahn rejects this. Because according to the law on collective bargaining, the contract of the union that has the most members in the respective company applies.