German train drivers' union issued call for strike impacting Deutsche Bahn passenger services


(MENAFN) In the midst of challenging negotiations over pay and working conditions, the German train drivers' union, GDL, has issued a call for a 24-hour strike affecting passenger services operated by Deutsche Bahn, the state-owned national railway company. The strike is scheduled to commence at 10 PM on Thursday and conclude at 10 PM on Friday, with freight trains set to be impacted from 6 PM on Thursday. This move comes after a 20-hour strike on November 16, during which Deutsche Bahn operated a significantly reduced long-distance schedule.

GDL's regional influence varies among drivers and other railway personnel, and some regional services operated by private entities remain unaffected by the ongoing dispute. While limited "warning strikes" are a common tactic in German pay negotiations, GDL is contemplating an expansion of its actions. The union's chairman, Claus Weselsky, declared the failure of negotiations with Deutsche Bahn after only two rounds of talks on November 24.

At the heart of the dispute is GDL's demand to reduce shift workers' hours from 38 to 35 hours per week without a corresponding reduction in pay, a proposition that employers have resisted thus far. The union is also advocating for a monthly raise of 555 euros (USD600) for employees, coupled with a one-time payment of up to 3,000 euros to offset inflation. In response, Deutsche Bahn has presented an offer equivalent to an 11 percent pay increase.

GDL has initiated a member ballot on the prospect of fully-fledged strikes, with the results expected to be announced on December 19. Notably, an earlier dispute between Deutsche Bahn and a rival union, EVG, was resolved earlier this year through an arbitrator-approved proposal accepted by both parties.

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