Strike: Ramelow: Railway board should legally disarm

Thuringia's Prime Minister and former railway arbitrator Bodo Ramelow has shown understanding for the actions of the train drivers' union GDL in the collective bargaining dispute with the railway.

Strike: Ramelow: Railway board should legally disarm

Thuringia's Prime Minister and former railway arbitrator Bodo Ramelow has shown understanding for the actions of the train drivers' union GDL in the collective bargaining dispute with the railway. "Only when the railway board understands that a legal war has already been lost by starting it, once he carries out this part of disarmament, will there be a chance of reaching an arbitration," said the left-wing German politician Press agency in Erfurt. "The losers in the process are the railway customers. But the railway board bears responsibility for this."

In 2015 and 2017, the 68-year-old was an arbitrator together with Matthias Platzeck (SPD) in collective bargaining disputes between Deutsche Bahn and the train drivers' union GDL. "Yes, as someone who has done the arbitration twice, I wouldn't have believed that the railway board would make the same mistake again the third time," said Ramelow.

However, he now assumes "that the railway board is about to make the same pile of shambles again by believing that it can destroy the GDL as an organization." That is the real conflict. “And so far that has always led to solidarity from the train drivers. They didn’t let their organization be destroyed,” said Ramelow.

The train drivers fought for the existence of their collective bargaining organization. "And whoever tries to destroy them is pushing this strike further and further."

Right to strike as part of democracy

Regarding the discussion about restrictions on the right to strike, Ramelow said that the GDL applies constitutional law. "I don't know whether we suddenly see the use of a constitutional right as annoying, because then democracy also becomes annoying, then everything that doesn't work so well becomes annoying." The Unified Collective Bargaining Act was already an interference with this right. He still rejects this today.

He understands the people who suffered from the work stoppages. “No trip can be planned at the moment. And in this respect, a strike is always an interference with the normal processes of life,” said Ramelow. GDL chairman Claus Weselsky represents “the contract that contains the rules”. Collective labor law is part of democracy.

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