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Friday early morning the German trains resume normal service as union threatens further strikes

Friday early morning the German trains resume normal service as union threatens further strikes
photo: Archives/Railway
17 / 08 / 2021

After two days of action, trains in Germany for the most part are running as usual again - although without resolving the wage dispute, but more strikes can be expected. A spokesman for Deutsche Bahn in Berlin said traffic had largely started normally on Friday early morning but warned of continued disruption in some regions.

The German Drivers' Union (GDL) ended its strike in passenger and freight transport at 2 am on Friday. With the strike, GDL wants to impose higher wages and better working conditions. Additional strikes are possible, but there will be no action in the coming days.

The GDL plans to discuss the next steps at a meeting next week.

The union discussed the balance of its strike in Berlin on Friday morning (11:00). It was noted that the solidarity of the members in all professional groups was huge.

The railways see things differently. Around 5,400 of the totals 19,700 train drivers took part in the strike, the state-owned company said in an initial assessment on Friday. In addition, only 120 employees in signal boxes, maintenance, and service at railway stations were on strike.

This shows that "virtually no one in the infrastructure sector has gone on strike," a railway spokeswoman told the DPA. As early as Friday morning, there were reports from the regions that the movement of trains has returned to normal.

 In the eastern part of the republic, which was particularly hard hit by the strike, no more cancellations are expected, according to DB. "Overall, things look very good," a spokesman said.

In Hamburg, S-Bahn trains were back on schedule. At Berlin's S-Bahn, operations were on the road again, although passengers on two lines could see some service interruptions.

According to the union, the strike, which had already started on Tuesday evening in the freight sector, also affected the infrastructure.

For the first time, there were strikes in six signal boxes, as well as in parts of the workshops and the administration. According to the railway, it was possible to run on a reduced replacement timetable – though, in long-distance services, about a quarter of the usual journeys were offered.

In the collective bargaining round, Deutsche Bahn and GDL agreed to increase wages by 3.2%. However, unions and company executives are debating when the increase should take effect and how long the new collective agreement should take effect.

Corporate pensions are also a moot point.

The railways want to keep the costs of the collective agreement low because they have suffered heavy losses in the coronary crisis. In addition, the federal government has asked for savings in the group for billions in financial aid.

There is a collective agreement with the larger railway and transport union for just under a year. In early 2022, employees will receive 1.5% more money, and no one will be fired as a result of DB's financial black hole.

However, GDL does not want to accept a zero increase this year and also demands a € 600 Covid bonus in exchange for working on the pandemic.

According to Union leader Claus Weselsky, we can expect new strikes if the railways do not offer a better offer. 

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