Train drivers strike again | free press

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The customers of Deutsche Bahn AG are again faced with annoying days. Passenger trains and infrastructure of the state-owned company will be on strike from Monday morning at 2 a.m., freight trains from this Saturday afternoon at 5 p.m. The labor dispute ends at 2 p.m. on Wednesday evening. The wage dispute between the biggest…

The customers of Deutsche Bahn AG are again faced with annoying days. Passenger trains and infrastructure of the state-owned company will be on strike from Monday morning at 2 a.m., freight trains from this Saturday afternoon at 5 p.m. The labor dispute ends at 2 p.m. on Wednesday evening. This escalates the wage dispute between the largest federal company and the German Train Drivers’ Union (GDL).

Other rail companies such as Flixtrain, regional providers and competitors of DB Cargo are not on strike and will continue to operate as planned if possible. Just like last week, DB wants to keep at least some of the trains in service with a replacement timetable and promises travelers goodwill in the event of cancellations and rebookings.

Both parties to the collective labor agreement blame each other for the fact that there will be work stoppages again. The group had “not taken a step,” GDL boss Claus Weselsky told journalists in Berlin. Neither last week’s strike nor the protests in front of the Berlin DB headquarters together with the umbrella organization DBB (Beamtenbund und Tarifunion), to which the GDL belongs, have led to a change of heart at management level.

More strikes could follow if necessary and hit passenger traffic over the weekend, Weselsky announced. DB Personnel Director Martin Seiler accuses the union of “permanent refusal” and of waging a power struggle for more influence and members “on the backs of train customers”. With the “second holiday strike”, which is completely redundant, the GDL is pushing it to its limits. Instead, new negotiations are needed.

However, an initial arbitration in the dispute over higher wages and the future scope of the GDL collective agreements failed last year. The state-owned company does not want to increase driver salaries for 2021 at all. From January 2022 there is only an increase of 1.5 percent and from March 2023 another 1.7 percent.

The GDL strongly rejects the required zero round and wants 1.4 percent more money this year and 1.8 percent from next year. To put it in perspective, this corresponds exactly to the degree in public service and is well below current inflation. In addition, a corona bonus of 600 euros should flow to each employee in 2021 due to the higher stress on basic staff as a result of the pandemic.

By contrast, the heavily indebted state-owned company, which is also extremely loss-making because of Corona, is demanding a moderate wage agreement as a contribution from the staff to the restructuring. Last year, the waiver of higher collective wages for 2021 was realized with the larger railway union EVG, which means a significant loss of purchasing power for its members and caused some unrest. EVG boss Klaus-Dieter Hommel now emphasizes that you have a special cancellation right and that you can renegotiate if the drivers force a better deal.

In extreme cases, this means that the EVG could also call for a strike, provided the GDL members, for example, obtain a corona bonus and the group does not subsequently award this bonus to the other employees. It also means that the EVG members can ultimately benefit from the hard GDL line and the drivers’ strikes if they also receive higher wages and a bonus before 2021.

The chairman of the DBB-Beamtenbundes, Ulrich Silberbach, has therefore already accused the EVG of “free riding”. The union sits “on the lap of the railway worker”, he criticized in the Berlin “Tagesspiegel”. The EVG had included a most favored nation clause in the collective labor agreement. Accordingly, the rate of the EVG should be improved accordingly if the GDL forces a better deal.

The German trade union federation, to which the EVG belongs, has also taken a position in the collective labor agreement dispute. The GDL must return to the negotiating table, demanded DGB boss Reiner Hoffmann in the “Spiegel”. Transport Minister Andreas Scheuer (CSU) had previously called for a new arbitration. The strike of the drivers at DB AG in the middle of the election campaign is very inconvenient for the governing coalition of the Union and the SPD, especially since it could also involve political responsibility for the serious crisis of the largest state-owned company. focus.

The GDL will not renegotiate and interrupt the strike until DB makes a significantly better offer. The state-owned company last expanded its range on June 7, significantly more than two months ago. In addition to the salary increase from 2022, it also offers better protection against dismissal, new hires and an exemplary pension provision. On the other hand, the GDL accuses the head of the DB of misleading the public. The reduction of the pensions of small companies by a third to just 100 euros is planned, which the group denies.

The federal government has intensified trade union competition with the collective bargaining unit (TEG) law, which the DB AG is now applying for the first time. According to the TEG, in the future only the collective labor agreement of the organization that has more members there would apply. In the Deutsche Bahn Group, the GDL qualifications would no longer apply to their members in more than 50 companies and would therefore be worthless.

GDL boss Weselsky is therefore trying to gain new members from dispatchers, workshops and infrastructure. The GDL is already well represented in other sectors of major DB competitors and, as the leading union, has recently implemented collective agreements with wage increases, including at Transdev and most recently at Go-Ahead. There was no labor dispute there, unlike the state-owned company.

Restrictions also in Saxony

Local rail passenger traffic in Saxony is also affected by the GDL warning strike. The DB Regio with the RE 1 line (Göttingen-Glauchau) and the S-Bahn S5 / S5X (Leipzig / Halle-Zwickau) as well as the DB Regio-Netz Verkehrs GmbH Erzgebirgsbahn with lines between Chemnitz will be on strike from August 23 at 2 hours and Annaberg-Buchholz or Cranzahl (RB 80), Chemnitz and Olbernhau (RB 81) and between Zwickau and Johanngeorgenstadt (RB 95).

The lines of the City-Bahn Chemnitz GmbH (CBC) are not affected by the strike: the RB 92 Stollberg-Glauchau, the RB 37 (Glauchau-Gößnitz) and the C-lines C11, C13, C14 and C15 of the Chemnitz- fashion model . The Mitteldeutsche Regiobahn (MRB) with the lines RE 3, RE 6, RB 30, RB 45 and RB 110 is also expected to run according to plan. It is also expected to take place in the line of the

Vogtlandbahn and Freiberger Eisenbahn are regular local rail services.

Specific information on the affected DB and EGB lines can be found on the Internet at: www.bahn.de/aktuell