Rail strike on Thursday: What the GDL is planning and what the railway is now advising its customers

Train travelers are likely to groan: The train drivers' union GDL has called for a strike on Thursday because of stalled collective bargaining negotiations with Deutsche Bahn.

Rail strike on Thursday: What the GDL is planning and what the railway is now advising its customers

Train travelers are likely to groan: The train drivers' union GDL has called for a strike on Thursday because of stalled collective bargaining negotiations with Deutsche Bahn. But what exactly are the union and railway staff planning?

As the GDL announced on Tuesday, the strike should begin on Wednesday evening at 10 p.m. and end on Thursday evening at 6 p.m.

The strike call therefore applies to employees of Deutsche Bahn, but also to other companies with which the GDL is currently in negotiations. These include the Transdev Group, which operates local transport networks in several federal states mostly through subsidiaries, the City Bahn Chemnitz and several personnel service providers for locomotive drivers.

According to its own statements, the railway expects a massive impact on rail traffic and travelers should be informed “as quickly and comprehensively as possible”. In any case, the potential for major disruption to rail traffic is great in GDL industrial disputes - precisely because many of the extremely important train drivers are members. In addition, the GDL is also explicitly calling on those union members to strike who do not work in the 18 companies where pay is made according to GDL collective agreements.

Deutsche Bahn has called on its customers to postpone trips in light of the warning strike by the German Locomotive Drivers' Union. "The GDL strike caused massive disruption to DB's long-distance, regional and S-Bahn traffic nationwide from the evening of November 15th through November 16th," the company wrote on Tuesday evening on X, formerly Twitter. "Please postpone your trips."

"The DB has developed an emergency timetable for long-distance transport with a greatly reduced range of journeys. For these journeys, the DB uses longer trains with more seats in order to be able to bring as many people as possible to their destination," the company writes in a press release. However, a ride cannot be guaranteed.

“In regional transport, the aim is to run a greatly reduced offer,” the railway said. "The extent to which this is possible varies greatly from region to region. In any case, there will also be massive restrictions on regional transport."

“All passengers who would like to postpone their trip planned for November 15th or 16th due to the GDL strike can use their ticket at a later date,” writes the railway. "The train connection has been cancelled. The ticket is valid for the journey to the original destination, even with a changed route." Seat reservations can be canceled free of charge.

Deutsche Bahn human resources director Martin Seiler criticized the GDL's strike decision two days before the next round of negotiations as "an absurdity" and an "unreasonable expectation for rail passengers." The group has just agreed on four more negotiation dates with the train drivers' union and has already put an eleven percent offer on the table in the opening round, emphasized Seiler. By striking ahead of the imminent new negotiations, the train drivers' union is making "millions of people liable" and "trampling on social partnership." Seiler accused the GDL of “never being interested in solutions”.

With a collective agreement term of one year, the GDL is demanding a wage increase of at least 555 euros and an increase in allowances for shift work by 25 percent. She also wants to achieve a 35-hour week with full wage compensation and tax-free inflation payments of 3,000 euros for employees in shift work.

The company offers eleven percent more wages and an inflation bonus of up to 2,850 euros for a term of 32 months. The group rejects the reduction in working hours with full wage compensation demanded by the GDL as unachievable. GDL boss Claus Weselsky, however, emphasized that this was “non-negotiable”.

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