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German train drivers union rules out strikes over Christmas

German train drivers union rules out strikes over Christmas

The German train drivers’ union, GDL, has assured rail passengers that there will be no strikes disrupting Christmas travel plans. The union’s head, Claus Weselsky, emphasized the tradition of maintaining peace during the festive season.

Negotiations Update:

Currently engaged in negotiations with Deutsche Bahn, Germany’s national rail operator, GDL seeks a new collective agreement as its existing pay deal has expired. Amidst the backdrop of a cost of living crisis, GDL is pushing for substantial benefits, including a €555 monthly raise, a €3,000 tax-free inflation compensation bonus, and a reduction in working hours.

Differing Proposals:

Deutsche Bahn has countered with an 11-percent pay increase over 32 months and a €2,850 tax-free bonus to offset inflation. However, negotiations hit a roadblock as GDL’s proposals for reduced working hours were deemed “unworkable.”

Recent Strike Action:

In response to the stalled negotiations, GDL executed a 20-hour warning strike last week, causing significant disruptions across the rail network. This prompted the cancellation of a subsequent round of talks scheduled for Thursday and Friday.

Upcoming Negotiations:

The next round of negotiations is scheduled for November 23rd and 24th. Weselsky has issued a warning, indicating a potential ballot for an unlimited strike if he perceives Deutsche Bahn’s approach as lacking seriousness.

As the German train drivers’ union, GDL, extends an olive branch with a Christmas truce amid ongoing negotiations with Deutsche Bahn, the rail industry faces a critical juncture. The commitment to peace during the festive season is a testament to the union’s consideration for passengers. It also reflects the recognition of the unique significance of this time of year.

However, the negotiations remain intricate, with GDL pressing for substantial benefits and Deutsche Bahn countering with its proposals. The recent warning strike underscores the tension in these talks and the potential for more significant disruptions if a resolution is not reached.


As the next round of negotiations looms, both parties must navigate the delicate balance between meeting the workers’ demands and ensuring the viability of the rail industry. The holiday season hangs in the balance, and the outcome of these negotiations will undoubtedly impact travelers and the broader transportation landscape. Stay tuned for updates on the evolving situation as GDL and Deutsche Bahn continue their dialogue. Shaping the future of the German rail sector against the backdrop of festive traditions and labor negotiations.

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