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.
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.
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.
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.