Tariffs: GDL strike begins in the evening in freight transport

In freight transport, the next strike by the German Locomotive Drivers' Union (GDL) at Deutsche Bahn begins this evening.

Tariffs: GDL strike begins in the evening in freight transport

In freight transport, the next strike by the German Locomotive Drivers' Union (GDL) at Deutsche Bahn begins this evening. From 6 p.m. there will again be far-reaching restrictions at the group subsidiary DB Cargo, as the GDL announced.

A few hours later, at 2 a.m., the fifth round of industrial action in the ongoing collective bargaining dispute also began in passenger transport. This time the strike is expected to last 35 hours each. Compared to previous rounds of strikes, this is short. But after that, GDL boss Claus Weselsky wants to cause even more uncertainty on the rails with so-called wave strikes.

Weselsky emphasized that strike announcements around 48 hours in advance would be over. In the future, trains and passengers will be warned much more quickly. The strikes are expected to become longer again. “This means that the railway is no longer a reliable means of transport,” said the chairman. An emergency timetable, as the railway has always been able to set up after strike announcements, will then “very likely” no longer be possible. Weselsky did not rule out labor disputes over Easter either.

The upcoming strike will again paralyze large parts of rail traffic in Germany. As with previous strikes, the railway wants to maintain a basic offer. Most recently, around 20 percent of long-distance trains were in use. The train connection for March 7th and 8th has also been cancelled. Passengers can bring their journey forward to Wednesday or start in the days after the strike ends.

Tariff dispute since November

The tariff dispute at the railway has been going on since the beginning of November. After Weselsky declared the first phase of negotiations had failed a few weeks later, both sides came back to the negotiating table at the beginning of February. We talked to each other behind closed doors for around four weeks. External mediators moderated the negotiations, the former Federal Interior Minister Thomas de Maizière and Schleswig-Holstein's Prime Minister Daniel Günther (both CDU). But last Thursday the GDL broke off the talks again. Since then, it has been completely unclear how a solution to the conflict will be achieved.

The main point of contention is the union's demand for a reduction in weekly working hours from 38 to 35 hours for shift workers without financial losses. De Maizière and Günther had proposed a reduction to 36 hours in two stages, the second stage of which should come into force at the beginning of 2028. According to their own statements, the railway agreed to this with gritted teeth. But the GDL rejected the proposal.

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