(MENAFN) Germany's national railway operator, Deutsche Bahn, experienced significant disruptions on Thursday due to a 20-hour strike initiated by the GDL union. The strike, which commenced at 10 p.m. on Wednesday and concluded at 6 PM on Thursday, resulted in a substantially reduced schedule. Such "warning strikes" are a common strategy in German wage negotiations.
Deutsche Bahn, a state-owned entity, anticipated running only about 20 percent of its regular long-distance services during the strike. While regional and local services were also impacted, the extent varied, as some are operated by private entities not targeted by the strike.
The ongoing dispute between Deutsche Bahn and GDL is proving challenging in its early stages. A key point of contention is the union's demand for a reduction in shift workers' weekly hours from 38 to 35 without a corresponding pay cut—a proposal met with resistance from the company.
GDL is advocating for a monthly raise of 555 euros (USD593) for employees, along with a payment of up to 3,000 euros (USD3,257) to counter inflation. Despite Deutsche Bahn offering an 11 percent raise during negotiations that began last week, the talks hit a roadblock, leading to the strike. Scheduled negotiations for Thursday were canceled by Deutsche Bahn in response to GDL's call for the strike.
This dispute follows the resolution of a previous conflict between Deutsche Bahn and the larger, traditionally less confrontational EVG union earlier this year. Both parties accepted an arbitrator's proposal to settle their differences.
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