German railway operates drastically reduced schedule during 20-hour strike by drivers’ union
November 18, 2023 | by b1og.net
Germany’s national railway operator, Deutsche Bahn, is facing a major disruption as the drivers’ union, GDL, stages a 20-hour strike to put pressure on the company in an ongoing dispute over pay and working hours. The strike, which began on Wednesday night and is scheduled to last until Thursday evening, has resulted in a drastically reduced schedule, with only about 20% of the normal long-distance service running. Regional and local services have also been affected to varying degrees. The main issue at the heart of the dispute is the union’s demand for reduced working hours without a reduction in pay. Negotiations between Deutsche Bahn and GDL are set to resume after the strike ends, but finding a resolution may be challenging given the union’s strong stance.
In Germany, the national railway operator, Deutsche Bahn, is currently facing a major strike by the GDL union. This strike is a result of an ongoing dispute over pay and working hours. The strike began on Wednesday at 10 p.m. and is scheduled to last for 20 hours, ending on Thursday at 6 p.m.
Impact of the Strike
As a result of the strike, Deutsche Bahn has been forced to significantly reduce its schedule. The company expects to run only about 20% of its normal long-distance service during the strike. Regional and local services have also been affected to varying degrees, as not all of them are operated by Deutsche Bahn and therefore not all of them were targeted by the strike.
The reduction in long-distance service is causing major disruptions for travelers. Those who rely on the railway to travel across the country are being forced to find alternative methods of transportation or reschedule their trips. This has had a significant impact on both business and leisure travelers.
Regional and Local Services
While regional and local services have also been affected by the strike, the impact is not as severe as it is for long-distance travelers. Some of these services are operated by private companies, therefore not all of them are included in the strike. However, passengers using these services should still expect delays and disruptions during the strike period.
Key Issues in the Dispute
Shift Workers’ Hours
One of the main issues at the center of the dispute between Deutsche Bahn and the GDL union is the demand to reduce shift workers’ hours from 38 to 35 hours per week without a reduction in pay. The union argues that reducing the working hours will improve work-life balance and employee well-being.
The GDL union is also pushing for a pay increase for its members. They are seeking a raise of 555 euros per month, along with a payment of up to 3,000 euros to counter inflation. The union believes that its members deserve fair compensation for their work and is advocating for their financial interests.
Another key issue in the dispute is the demand for inflation compensation. The GDL union wants Deutsche Bahn to provide additional payments to its employees to offset the effects of inflation. This demand reflects the union’s commitment to ensuring that its members’ wages keep up with the rising cost of living.
Previous Dispute with Rival Union
It is worth noting that Deutsche Bahn recently resolved a dispute with a rival union, the EVG. This settlement came after both sides accepted a proposal by arbitrators. The resolution of this previous dispute may serve as a reference point for negotiations with the GDL union.
Strike Duration and Schedule
The strike by the GDL union began on Wednesday at 10 p.m. and is scheduled to last for 20 hours, ending on Thursday at 6 p.m. This limited duration is a commonly used tactic in German pay negotiations. The hope is that the strike will exert enough pressure on Deutsche Bahn to come to the negotiating table and find a resolution.
Cancellation of Talks
Negotiations between Deutsche Bahn and the GDL union were initially scheduled to resume on Thursday. However, Deutsche Bahn canceled this week’s talks after the GDL union called for the strike. This cancellation indicates the severity of the dispute and the challenges both parties face in finding common ground.
Resumption of Negotiations
While talks have been temporarily halted due to the strike, both Deutsche Bahn and the GDL union have expressed their willingness to resume negotiations. It is hoped that the strike will prompt productive discussions and lead to a resolution that satisfies the interests of both parties.
Reduced Working Hours
The GDL union’s demand to reduce shift workers’ hours from 38 to 35 hours per week without a pay reduction is a central aspect of their bargaining agenda. The union believes that shorter working hours will improve the quality of life for its members and contribute to a healthier work-life balance.
In addition to reduced working hours, the GDL union is also seeking a significant pay increase for its members. The union is advocating for a raise of 555 euros per month to recognize the value of their work and to ensure fair compensation in line with market standards.
Railway Operator’s Response
Deutsche Bahn has made it clear that it is facing significant challenges in meeting the demands put forward by the GDL union. The company argues that the union’s demands, particularly the reduction in working hours without a pay reduction, are not financially viable and would have a negative impact on the overall operations of the railway.
During the initial negotiations, Deutsche Bahn presented an offer to the GDL union. The offer includes an 11% raise in wages, which the company believes is a fair and competitive offer. However, the union has not accepted this proposal and continues to push for further improvements in terms of both working hours and pay.
Finding a resolution to the ongoing dispute requires open and productive dialogue between Deutsche Bahn and the GDL union. To bridge their differences, both parties may consider exploring alternative solutions that address the concerns of their respective stakeholders. This could include compromises on working hours, pay increases, and additional benefits or incentives.
The strike by the GDL union has had a significant impact on the operations of Deutsche Bahn, leading to a reduced schedule and disruptions for passengers. The key issues at the center of the dispute, including reduced working hours and pay increases, highlight the importance of fair labor practices and employee well-being. As negotiations between Deutsche Bahn and the GDL union continue, it is crucial for both parties to consider the interests of their respective members while seeking a mutually satisfactory resolution. Only through open communication and a willingness to compromise can a sustainable and productive agreement be reached.