Christmas train strikes in Germany are possible, says GDL boss
The head of the German Train Drivers’ Union has said that train strikes across Germany are possible this Christmas as the union reenters negotiations with Deutsche Bahn.
GDL says Deutsche Bahn Christmas strikes are possible
Speaking to the Funke Mediengruppe on November 1, Claus Weselsky, leader of the German Train Drivers’ Union (GDL), said that strikes throughout the Christmas season in Germany are a possibility, meaning long-distance trains could be severely disrupted.
As an industrial peace agreement between the GDL and Deutsche Bahn comes to an end, the union is reentering pay negotiations with the nationwide rail provider. “I don’t want to rule [strikes] out,” Weselsky told the newspaper.
In response, Martin Seiler, a representative of Deutsche Bahn, called for a 14-day peace agreement over the Christmas period, but what happens depends on how the upcoming negotiations are to play out.
What does the GDL want for DB train drivers?
After the industrial peace agreement between DB and the GDL came to an end on October 31, collective bargaining will begin again on November 9. On behalf of its members, the GDL is demanding shift workers get a 35-hour week with full wages, a pay rise of 555 euros per month and a tax-free 3.000-euro compensation bonus.
“The best peace offering in negotiations would be for Deutsche Bahn to accept our demands on November 9,” Weselsky told the newspaper.
Seiler responded by saying that the GDL’s demands were unreasonable, claiming that they would mean a 50 percent increase in staff costs and the company would have to look for thousands more employees in the midst of an increasing worker shortage.
Weselsky said that the proposal to reduce working hours from 38 to 35 per week would be at the centre of what he expects to be “strenuous” discussions, adding that DB’s unwillingness to be open before discussions have begun meant that a “conflict spiral” may continue.
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