After four warning strikes at Deutsche Bahn in the past nine months, things are now getting more serious for passengers: from Wednesday morning and until Friday evening, the train drivers' union GDL wants to strike the railway and also the railway company Transdev. It is the first industrial action lasting several days in the current collective bargaining round.
The timetables are likely to be thrown into disarray again. The railway wants to offer an emergency timetable on the three days of the strike. After the two GDL warning strikes in November and December, significant restrictions on train services are to be expected again. Only the state labor court in Hesse could overturn the industrial dispute. An overview:
When will there be a strike?
According to the GDL plans, the work stoppage begins on Tuesday evening (6 p.m.) in freight traffic and early Wednesday morning (2 a.m.) in passenger traffic. The strike is scheduled to end on Friday evening at 6 p.m. Passenger traffic is likely to be hit hard over three days. Even after the strike ends on Friday evening, there will probably not be a large number of trains on the rails. As before, the railway should concentrate on a smooth start to operations on Saturday. The group has not yet announced any details.
Which traffic is affected?
The employees of Deutsche Bahn as well as the railway companies Transdev and City-Bahn Chemnitz have been called on to stop work. Significant disruptions are therefore to be expected nationwide in both long-distance, regional and freight transport. The group wants to offer an emergency timetable. However, this “only ensures a very limited range of trains in DB’s long-distance, regional and S-Bahn traffic,” the company said.
“Please refrain from non-essential travel during the GDL strike and postpone your trip to another time.” During the two previous GDL warning strikes, the railway was able to maintain around 20 percent of the usual long-distance service. In regional transport, the effects varied greatly depending on the region.
Which regions are likely to be particularly affected?
Experience has shown that many employees are organized by the GDL, especially in the eastern German states and the southwest. In many places, regional transport will therefore be virtually unavailable.
Where can I find out more about my train?
You can see whether a long-distance or regional train is running or not using the train app or the train website. A strike hotline has been set up for individual information (08000 99 66 33).
What happens to my ticket?
All passengers who wish to postpone their journey planned for Wednesday to Friday due to the strike can use their ticket at a later date. The train connection has been lifted. The ticket is valid for the journey to the original destination, even with a changed route.
Seat reservations can be canceled free of charge. Passengers also have the option of bringing their trip forward to Tuesday. If the booked train is canceled, a complete ticket refund is also possible.
Are other railway companies affected by the warning strike?
Apart from the companies mentioned, which are directly on strike, all other rail companies can theoretically offer their journeys. The GDL mainly represents train drivers and train crews on the railway. Dispatchers who coordinate train traffic nationwide are also called on a warning strike. But only a few of them are GDL members. The rail network should therefore generally be passable in large parts of the country.
Why is the GDL on strike?
In the current collective bargaining round, the union primarily wants to fight for a reduction in weekly working hours for shift workers from 38 to 35 hours with full wage compensation. The railway rejects this rigorously. GDL boss Claus Weselsky therefore declared the negotiations to have failed and criticized the fact that no compromises could be found with the federally owned company.
In addition to the reduction in working hours, the union is demanding 555 euros more per month and an inflation compensation bonus. The railway had offered eleven percent higher fees for a term of 32 months as well as the inflation compensation bonus.
What is the situation at the negotiating table?
Bad at the moment. The union and the railway have become deadlocked in the collective bargaining dispute, and there have been no negotiations, at least officially, for several weeks. The offer presented by Deutsche Bahn last week has not changed this.
The group suggested expanding existing choice models for working hours. Up to now, employees can decide whether they want more money, more vacation or fewer working days per week. For example, you can reduce your working hours from 39 to 37 hours per week, but you will receive 5.7 percent less pay.
The railway offers the possibility of reducing weekly working hours in this mode to 35 hours. If you want, you could also work up to 40 hours a week for a little more money. Anyone who decides to work shorter hours will have to compromise on a collectively agreed wage increase, emphasized the railway. The GDL does not see the railway's initiative as an offer that can be negotiated.
What are the claims before the labor courts?
Both Transdev and Deutsche Bahn have tried to stop the strikes through court through an interim injunction. The Frankfurt Labor Court rejected corresponding applications on Monday evening. However, the railway immediately appealed to the Hesse State Labor Court. A decision there is expected on Tuesday.