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Train drivers strike again as wage battle wears on

The Local · 4 Mar 2011, 08:49

Published: 04 Mar 2011 08:49 GMT+01:00

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Train drivers’ union GDL called the three-hour strike for long-haul and regional train routes between 8:30 am and 11:30 am. It was their third strike in two weeks.

“The GDL once again aims not affect work commuters, and to affect weekend travellers only a bit,” the union said.

As with their strike last Friday, GDL leaders also chose to spare the already struggling S-Bahn commuter train services in Berlin, which have been operating on a limited schedule.

Striking later in the day was a response to widespread anger by train passengers after the GDL’s first strike last week, which prevented many from making it to work on time.

Meanwhile organizer of the technology trade fair CeBIT in Hannover planned to bus international visitors from the airports in Frankfurt, Düsseldorf and Hamburg.

The GDL union has demanded wage increases for some 26,000 regional, long-haul and freight train drivers. They are hoping to get 105 percent of the current average wage at Deutsche Bahn. Many private train companies pay their drivers up to 30 percent less than Deutsche Bahn wage levels.

The union has threatened to shut down the nation's railways if Deutsche Bahn and six other private train services fail to present an acceptable wage offer.

But on Friday national rail provider Deutsche Bahn called for the GDL to end strikes and return to wage negotiations on Monday, a demand that GDL leader Claus Weselsky rejected.

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“The GDL has no strikes planned for the Karneval season, but Deutsche Bahn’s approach requires a clear answer,” he said.

Friday’s temporary strike is scheduled to be the last before the union counts member votes on Monday to decide whether to stage an indefinite strike.


The Local (news@thelocal.de)

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Your comments about this article

09:04 March 4, 2011 by catjones
Message to tourists: Stay out of Germany this year.
09:51 March 4, 2011 by Landmine
Another strike by unsatisfied worker in the public transportation sector. This should be illegal as it disrupts businesses and cost a lot of money in lost productivity just because these greedy rat bastrd$ want more money. They should just be fired and a law should pass making such strikes by these type of workers illegal.
11:12 March 4, 2011 by darwiniandemon
The parties are obviously still under negotiations with each other. The strike is really unwarranted.

In Switzerland, a strike is only admissible after conciliation has failed. Or else, it would be considered illegal. Germany should adopt this.

I'm sure the businesses in Köln must be fuming today from the dip in the number of people visiting the city for Karnival.
12:09 March 4, 2011 by jimscott
@ Landmine. What planet do you come from?
12:50 March 4, 2011 by ramon8888
I do not work in a public sector... so if I am not satisfied with my income and I want to make a strike, nobody will notice. I want also in this situation to have this right to stop the trains, even only for one hour :)... this is strike abuse.

I think they can find other ways to strike...even cancelling a train, but to inform the people. A lot of people are going to work; all of us are paying a lot of money for the ticket, we do not deserve this. we are involved agains our will.

The question remains: do I get also salary raise for taking part of this strike, because I was stuck in a train?
14:29 March 4, 2011 by cobalisk
These strikes were advertised in advance as anyone keeping up with news knows. If you get to work late because of a train strike it is your fault. Blaming workers who give everyone advance notice that they are striking makes no sense.

These strikes are to harmonize salaries across the differing private train companies. The reason is that most private train operators are seriously underpaying their workers while reaping huge profits. The strikes are justified.
19:07 March 4, 2011 by The Kraut
Shouldn't landmines be defused? What does this pseudonym signify? A personality disorder or some other type of crackpot disposition?
13:02 March 5, 2011 by William Thirteen
i rode the train yesterday and was fully prepared to sit idle on the rails for three hours in support of the Lokführer strike - as it was it didn't come to that but one of my connections was cancelled. I just hopped on a replacement train going the same direction. If only we passengers could strike as well - then the Bahn would really have trouble!
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