RTS :: Germany, prepare drivers on strike

The third round of the strike of the Union of German Train Drivers (GDL) started this morning (September 2) in passenger traffic. The work stoppage started according to the plan at two o’clock after midnight, the strike leadership at the union announced.

On the railway website, it could be read that a large part of trains in passenger traffic have not run since then. In intercity traffic, an emergency timetable is in force, which covers approximately a quarter of the total number of lines. In regional traffic, according to these data, the railway has set itself the goal of reaching 40 percent of the total volume of normal traffic. But there are significant deviations in certain areas.

The strike should end only on Tuesday at two in the morning (7.9.). There has been a strike in freight traffic since Wednesday afternoon (1.9).

Until this morning’s start of the strike, the union did not comment on the offer submitted by the German railway. With a five-day work stoppage, the union wants to support the request for a 3.2 percent salary increase with a 28-month contract.

German railway on the offensive

Immediately before the beginning of the new strike of train drivers, German Railways, according to its own allegations, sent a new offer to the union.

“We are fulfilling the central requirements of GDL,” said the representative of the management of the German railway, Martin Seiler. He added that because of that, there is no reason for an almost one-week strike.

The railway management sent a clear message to the union management: “Give up your blockade,” Seiler said. He appealed to the union representatives to return to the negotiating table and to give up “irresponsible measures of the union struggle”.

Allegedly, the railway met the union in the premiums for work in pandemic conditions and during the duration of the future contract. The railway said that the premiums should be the same as those in public services. This would mean that, depending on the contract, the train drivers connected to the union would receive premiums in the amount of between 400 and 600 euros.

Instead of 40 months, as the railway previously proposed, collective agreements would now be valid for 36 months. “At the same time, we are offering a salary increase of 3.2 percent, and that is exactly what the union is demanding,” Seiler explained.

Veselski: We continue with the strike

The head of the train drivers’ union, Klaus Veselski, remains firm in his position, announcing the continuation of the work stoppage. According to him, the new offer of the German railway “is not acceptable in terms of content”. Veselski added that the real goal of German Railways is to get rid of the GDL union, and he also announced that the union he heads “of course” will continue to negotiate.

This conflict is about positioning the GDL union, which has competition in a larger union – the Railway and Transport Union (EVG). That union organization has already agreed with the railway management, but GDL considers the results of the agreement insufficient.
The German railway is not waiting with folded arms. Her lawyers in Frankfurt am Main filed a lawsuit against GDL, demanding an urgent court suspension of the strike. They explained this by thinking that the strike was taking place outside the current legal framework.

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