Unions: collective bargaining at the railways: what is at stake and what is threatening

Despite the collective bargaining agreement in the public sector last weekend, warning strikes in the transport sector are not off the table: today the railway and transport union (EVG) in Fulda is continuing to negotiate with Deutsche Bahn about more money for around 180,000 group employees.

Unions: collective bargaining at the railways: what is at stake and what is threatening

Despite the collective bargaining agreement in the public sector last weekend, warning strikes in the transport sector are not off the table: today the railway and transport union (EVG) in Fulda is continuing to negotiate with Deutsche Bahn about more money for around 180,000 group employees. Temporary labor disputes are possible at any time. What the collective bargaining conflict is about and what consumers need to be prepared for.

Are the next warning strikes looming on the railways?

Consumers must continue to reckon with this. However, there were no concrete plans at the beginning of the week. The EVG has made it clear that warning strikes are always conceivable when negotiations are taking place. Most recently, the union paralyzed long-distance and regional transport last Friday - but only for a few hours in the morning and in the morning. The negotiators have stressed that if talks fail this Tuesday, they could resort to tougher measures. All-day warning strikes or even a ballot would be conceivable. It is unclear how long this round of talks will last. It could also be further negotiated on Wednesday.

Trains, ships, planes - could everything stand still again?

A warning strike as comprehensive as the one at the end of March, which paralyzed almost all airports as well as rail and shipping traffic, is currently not foreseeable. At that time, the EVG had organized the 24-hour labor dispute together with the Verdi union, which wanted to put pressure on the public sector wage dispute. There has been a result since the weekend.

Nevertheless, there are still wage disputes in transport-related sectors. Parallel to the rail sector, Verdi is currently negotiating surcharges for security and service staff at airports. The talks have been going on between the union and the Federal Association of Aviation Security Companies (BDLS) for some time. In this context there were yesterday warning strikes at the airports in Berlin and Hamburg. It is therefore quite conceivable that warning strikes at airports and on the railways will be held at the same time again - even if they do not have to be coordinated with each other.

Where are the negotiations at the railways?

In the negotiations with the railway industry, the EVG demands at least 650 euros more per month or twelve percent for the upper income groups and a term of twelve months. The union is currently negotiating in the second round with around 50 railway companies. The focus is on Deutsche Bahn, which will continue in Fulda this Tuesday.

The state-owned group wants to base its offer on the conclusion of the public service from the weekend. This provides for a tax and duty-free inflation compensation premium totaling EUR 3,000, which is to be gradually paid out between June of this year and February of next year. From then on there should be at least 340 euros gross more per month for all employees.

For the EVG, however, the degree in public service is not a basis for negotiation. "We have already explained to DB AG several times that we are not negotiating for the public service," said negotiator Kristian Loroch recently, "but primarily for the employees of the bus and train companies." In particular, the EVG does not want the tax-free one-off payment. Both sides are still far apart.

What sticking points are there on the railway?

In addition to the collective bargaining demands, the minimum wage was a sticking point in the first two rounds of talks at Deutsche Bahn. A few thousand employees only receive this from the company in the form of bonuses. Even before the substantive tariff talks, the EVG wants to set the statutory minimum wage of twelve euros per hour in the tariff tables. Deutsche Bahn, in turn, proposed a minimum wage of 13 euros at the last meeting in mid-March, but does not want to include this in the tables until August 2024. The union strictly rejects this.

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