Transport: GDL and Bahn are negotiating a collective agreement

The most important man in the GDL train drivers' union was initially missing, but there was still talk: Deutsche Bahn and the GDL have entered the second round of negotiations on a new collective agreement.

Transport: GDL and Bahn are negotiating a collective agreement

The most important man in the GDL train drivers' union was initially missing, but there was still talk: Deutsche Bahn and the GDL have entered the second round of negotiations on a new collective agreement.

After an eventful week with a 20-hour warning strike and a GDL strike vote on indefinite strikes, the delegations from both sides sat together in Berlin on Thursday until around 6:30 p.m. to explore compromise lines. The conflict-laden issue of reducing working hours is also on the agenda for the round of negotiations, which is scheduled to continue on Friday at 10 a.m.

The GDL chairman Claus Weselsky was initially surprisingly absent and only joined the group on Thursday evening. “We simply have further negotiation dates elsewhere, we have other dates that we also attend as GDL,” said deputy GDL boss Lars Jedinat. "Well, everyone has to set their priorities. I'm here and it's clear to me what my priorities are," said DB Human Resources Director Martin Seiler, commenting on Weselsky's absence in the morning with a smile. Shortly after Weselsky's arrival, a railway spokesman announced that the negotiations had ended on Thursday.

Silence about the content of negotiations

Nothing was known about the course of the negotiations during the day. During collective bargaining negotiations, the GDL is calling for a reduction in weekly working hours for shift workers from 38 to 35 hours with full wage compensation. DB Human Resources Director Seiler believes the demand cannot be met and sees no room for negotiation. Before the start of negotiations, he emphasized that he wanted to first talk about issues on which compromises were possible.

In addition to reducing working hours, the GDL is demanding, among other things, 555 euros more per month and an inflation compensation bonus for employees. The railway has so far offered an eleven percent wage increase for a term of 32 months as well as the required inflation compensation bonus.

GDL wants to expand the scope

GDL Vice President Jedinat emphasized that the union also wants to conclude collective agreements with the railways for employees in the infrastructure companies. To date, there are no collective agreements between DB and GDL in these areas, but the union has been bringing the issue back to the agenda for years because it wants to expand its scope within the DB Group. The railway rejects such collective agreements because, in its opinion, the GDL has hardly any members among the infrastructure workers.

The GDL is the significantly smaller union in the DB Group. According to the company, a good 10,000 employees are paid according to GDL collective agreements. The railway and transport union EVG, on the other hand, negotiated new collective agreements for around 180,000 DB employees in the spring and summer. It is significantly more represented than the GDL, especially in infrastructure companies.

Strike threats remain

Despite the efforts at the negotiating table, a solution to the ongoing collective bargaining dispute with the train drivers' union without further industrial action currently seems unlikely. "The next warning strike is definitely coming. We won't take too much time with it," said Weselsky in a newspaper interview just a few days ago. A warning strike on Thursday was initially not specifically announced.

Parallel to the negotiations, the union is holding a strike vote among members on indefinite strikes. If 75 percent of those voting voted for such measures, GDL boss Weselsky would have another means at his disposal with which he could put pressure on the DB negotiators. In comparison to strikes, warning strikes must be limited in time and must be proportionate to the demands or the current negotiating situation.

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