Deutsche Bahn Train drivers announce strike
Status: 08.06.2021 1:43 p.m.
The collective bargaining has failed, the labor dispute is a done deal: The German Engine Drivers Union wants to call for a strike at Deutsche Bahn. A date is not yet known. Deutsche Bahn customers have to be prepared for strikes. The union of German locomotive drivers (GDL) declared its collective bargaining negotiations with the company to have failed and decided to take industrial action. The union has not yet announced a date. It also left open which areas of the company could be affected. The fourth round of negotiations between employers and employees also failed to bring an agreement on Monday. “We wanted to negotiate and reach an agreement, but DB refused again,” said union leader Claus Weselsky. He accused the railway of wanting to worsen the working conditions of the train crew and of lying in statements to the contrary.
First strike since December 2018
In the event of a strike, it would be the first at Deutsche Bahn since December 2018, when the Railway and Transport Union (EVG) called on its members to take part in a labor dispute. The last wave of strikes by the GDL was six years ago. The railway had already seen the escalation coming after the unsuccessful conversation in Berlin. After the meeting, Chief Human Resources Officer Martin Seiler criticized that the union aimed at confrontation at all costs. The GDL consciously accept damage for customers. The group is still ready to talk.
According to the railway, the union is not ready to talk
According to its own statements, the railway proposed a collective bargaining agreement on Monday that would have brought employees increased incomes, as in the public sector in the airport sector. However, the union refused to talk about leeway and solutions. You insist on significantly higher demands. The contracting parties in the public service agreed in autumn on wage and salary increases of 3.2 percent over a period of 28 months. Due to the slump in traffic, however, special rules apply at airports with delayed tariff increases, reduced working hours and a suspension of performance-related pay.
Deutsche Bahn announced at an inopportune time
The labor dispute hits not only the customers, but also the financially troubled company at an inopportune moment. After the relaxation of the corona rules, the state-owned company’s business is picking up speed again. In regional traffic you drive the full range, in long-distance traffic almost 100 percent, said Seiler. “Bookings are picking up again, that’s nice.” It is all the more important that the GDL make its contribution in solidarity. In September, the railway had put together a tariff package with its largest union, the railway and transport union. From the beginning of 2022, employees will receive 1.5 percent more money. No redundancies for operational reasons are possible until the end of 2023. In previous collective bargaining rounds, the almost 215,000 Deutsche Bahn employees were able to look forward to some significantly higher increases in income. The GDL refused to take part in the negotiations. An arbitration in autumn failed. After the wage agreement expired at the end of February, the new round of negotiations began.