The GDL threatens to strike: Weselsky has lost all measure

The right to strike is sacred and is regulated by the Basic Law: "The right to form associations to protect and promote working and economic conditions is guaranteed for everyone and for all professions; agreements that restrict or attempt to hinder this right are void, Measures aimed at this are unlawful,” says Article 9, which is a bit complicated.

The GDL threatens to strike: Weselsky has lost all measure

The right to strike is sacred and is regulated by the Basic Law: "The right to form associations to protect and promote working and economic conditions is guaranteed for everyone and for all professions; agreements that restrict or attempt to hinder this right are void, Measures aimed at this are unlawful,” says Article 9, which is a bit complicated.

So you can't say anything against it if Claus Weselsky, head of the German Locomotive Drivers' Union (GDL), threatens to go on strike. It is his fundamental right. A great asset. And yet: the man has lost all measure. After all, he has now announced that he does not want to go on strike over Christmas. “The GDL has never gone on strike over Christmas and will not do so this year either,” Weselsky told the “Leipziger Volkszeitung”. “The Christmas season is a peaceful one – and it will stay that way.” That's good news. But no all-clear. The GDL has called on its members to vote. They should vote on indefinite strikes. 75 percent of the members must vote for it. If they do that, commuters will face hard times.

The GDL is demanding 555 euros more per month plus an inflation compensation bonus. The weekly working hours should be reduced from 38 to 35 hours. With full pay. The railway sees itself unable to meet these demands. She offered eleven percent plus inflation adjustment. The GDL’s demands are “strange and completely irrational”. That's correct. One could also say: The GDL's demand is outrageous. Even if you take inflation and price increases into account, eleven percent is a good offer. Other industries can dream of this. Furthermore, Weselsky doesn't seem to want to negotiate at all. How else can you explain why it escalates like this? The union boss is apparently just looking for a riot. And he loses sight of the responsibility he has for society as a whole, which he also has as a trade unionist.

Because of the impending climate catastrophe, more people would have to switch to public transport. It is currently not recommended for you. Only 65 percent of trains were on time in 2022. The year before it was over 75 percent. A train that is less than six minutes late is considered to be on time. And: canceled trains are not counted. 40,000 trains were canceled in 2022. The railway is in a disastrous condition. If the railways don't get better, people will continue to drive. In terms of air conditioning, it’s a no-go. The network would have to be expanded; in many regions people have no other option than to drive.

The Deutschlandticket shows that people definitely want to travel by train. According to the railway, the number of passengers has increased by a quarter. Weselsky is now making sure that these potential frequent travelers are scared away again. Despite all the sympathy for the industrial action, one cannot help but get the impression that the GDL boss is not interested in the matter at all. Or to recruit new members. It's about himself. He wants to create a monument for himself. Weselsky is retiring next year. It's not just commuters who will breathe a sigh of relief.

This text was originally published on November 23, 2023. It has been updated.

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