The Verdi union has called for warning strikes in local public transport this Friday in all federal states except Bavaria. Buses, subways and trams are to be stopped in around 80 cities and 40 districts. In many places there is a strike all day long, but in Berlin the strike ends at 10 a.m. According to Verdi, more than 130 municipal companies are affected.
With the industrial action, the union is pushing for better working conditions for around 90,000 employees. Negotiations take place decentrally with the respective employers. Since the collective agreements differ regionally, there are sometimes different demands. Essentially, Verdi is concerned with improving working conditions in the strike areas. “We have a dramatic shortage of workers in public transport and incredible pressure on employees,” says Verdi deputy chairwoman Christine Behle. "Buses and trains are canceled every day in all tariff areas because there are not enough staff. Something urgently needs to be done to relieve the burden on employees."
Verdi's core demands include: shorter weekly working hours, more vacation, additional relief days for shift and night work as well as a limit on shared services and unpaid times in driving service. In Brandenburg, Saxony-Anhalt, Thuringia and Saarland, higher salaries are also being negotiated.
Due to the fragmented structure, it is not so easy to give a general answer to what bus and train drivers earn. Salaries can vary significantly from region to region. According to Verdi, in the four federal states that are currently negotiating for more wages, starting salaries are between 2,622 euros (Brandenburg) and 2,800 euros (Saarland). In Thuringia and Saxony-Anhalt it starts at just over 2,700 euros.
The Federal Employment Agency's pay atlas provides a nationwide overview, showing the average wages and salaries for 110,843 bus and tram drivers. The average full-time salary for bus and tram drivers in Germany is 3,177 euros gross per month. This is the median value, which means: half of all drivers earn less, the other half earn more. The evaluation also shows: One in four employees earns less than 2,861 euros, and the highest earner earns more than 3,507 euros.
Broken down by federal state, the statistics say: The best paid is in Baden-Württemberg with an average salary of 3,567 euros. Salaries are lowest in Brandenburg, where the median is 2,779 euros. Verdi is now demanding 20 percent and at least 650 euros more wages in Brandenburg. In North Rhine-Westphalia, the state with the most public transport employees, the average salary is 3,166 euros.
The figures are also particularly relevant for individual cities that employ a particularly large number of drivers due to the size of their public transport offering. Municipal employers in large cities - at least in western Germany - pay above average, although the cost of living in metropolitan areas also tends to be higher.
However, salaries and living costs do not always seem to correlate: with the Munich average salary of 3,400 euros, drivers in the expensive Bavarian capital probably have a harder time making ends meet than their colleagues in the cheaper Essen with their 3,489 euros. In Berlin, statistics show an average salary of 3,244 euros, in Hamburg it is 3,283 euros, in Cologne 3,443 euros and in Frankfurt am Main it is 3,494 euros. Drivers in Stuttgart earn the most with an average of 3,777 euros.