New strikes already in sight: Bahn hopes for regular operation from Friday

New strikes already in sight
Bahn hopes for regular operation from Friday

Rail travelers still need patience today: the train drivers paralyze large parts of Deutsche Bahn’s traffic for the second day in a row. In the West German regional networks, the situation is somewhat more relaxed than in the east.

Even today, Deutsche Bahn customers have to be prepared for delays and train cancellations. The union of German locomotive drivers (GDL) is continuing its strike in freight and passenger traffic that began on Wednesday until Friday night. According to its own statements, the railway is doing everything in its power to resume regular operations on Friday. Both long-distance and local transport continue to be severely impaired for passengers. Some of the trains running are very busy.

As on the previous day, only around 25 percent of long-distance trains will run on Thursday according to a special timetable, Deutsche Bahn has announced. In the West German regional networks in particular, a little more trains could run again because there are even more civil servant train drivers who do not have the right to strike. In some metropolises, the S-Bahn ran every 20 minutes. Because of the higher degree of organization of the GDL in the east, there were hardly any trains between Berlin, Leipzig and Dresden on Wednesday. In some metropolises, however, the S-Bahn ran every 20 minutes, reported the train.

GDL boss Claus Weselsky has already threatened further strikes. In particular, the long term of 40 months proposed by the railroad for the collective agreement must be off the table. Weselsky said to his followers: “I do not promise you that it will be over on Friday. But we are careful with our collective bargaining power.” A decision on further industrial action should not be made until next week.

Competitors of Deutsche Bahn, which have considerable market shares in regional and freight transport, are not on strike. According to their associations, they only experienced isolated disruptions on Wednesday.

Bahn is pushing for a longer contract period

The train drivers’ union is fighting for more money and better working conditions for its members at Deutsche Bahn. Unlike the larger railway and transport union (EVG), it does not want to accept a zero round in salaries this year. The GDL wants to score points with the employees in the internal power struggle with the EVG.

The GDL is calling for wage increases of around 3.2 percent, as in the public sector, as well as a corona bonus of 600 euros in the current year. The term of the collective agreement should be 28 months. There is also a struggle for company pensions. Due to billions in losses in the pandemic, the railway wants to distribute the increase to later stages, with a contract term of 40 months. In addition, there are pension benefits and the exclusion of redundancies for operational reasons.