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Upcoming Strike Disrupts German Railways: Deutsche Bahn Seeks Legal Intervention

Upcoming Strike Disrupts German Railways: Deutsche Bahn Seeks Legal Intervention
photo: Deutsche Bahn / Public domain/Deutsche Bahn
09 / 01 / 2024

Already this week, there will be another train drivers' strike in Germany. It will significantly complicate travel throughout the country and abroad.

The German train drivers' union (Gewerkschaft Deutscher Lokomotivführer, or GDL) announced on Sunday that the planned strike will run from Wednesday 10 January to Friday 12 January. With this move, GDL has progressed further in a long-running dispute over wage increases and reduced working hours at Germany's national carrier Deutsche Bahn (DB).

This week, Germany faces additional unpleasant complications. They refer to farmers' protests that will break out on Monday and are likely to lead to road and highway blockades. The transport sector will thus be significantly impacted. The rail strike was announced a few days after German train drivers reached an agreement with another carrier that is willing to agree to terms of reducing working hours to thirty-five hours a week from the previous thirty-eight hours. So far, the private carrier Go-Ahead has become the second company willing to accommodate train drivers.

Volker Emersleben / DB AG

In response to the strike announcement, Deutsche Bahn strongly criticizes GDL's decision and in turn plans to take legal action to stop the strike. DB plans to apply to the Labor Court in Frankfurt am Main for a preliminary measure to stop the strike. "This strike is not only absolutely unnecessary, but we also believe that it is not legally permissible," comments DB Human Resources Director Martin Seiler.

Martin Seiler further stated that DB is calling on GDL to call off the planned strike and proceed to the possibility of negotiations on January 10. "Solutions can only be found at the negotiating table," added Seiler. GDL announced that the strike would begin at 2:00 a.m. on Wednesday and last until 6:00 p.m. on Friday.

In its press release, GDL cited Go-Ahead and Netinera as examples of successful negotiations. In addition to reducing working hours to thirty-five hours a week in February, they will increase train drivers' wages by 210 euros. The next increase will occur in January next year. In addition to all this, a bonus of three thousand euros will be paid in three installments, until July of this year. The bonus is taken as compensation for inflation.