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Train drivers back strike

The Local · 7 Mar 2011, 16:31

Published: 07 Mar 2011 16:31 GMT+01:00

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Some 92 percent of GDL union members working for national rail provider Deutsche Bahn and 96 percent of those working for six private regional competitors voted to increase pressure in a labour dispute that could deliver a crippling blow to German train traffic.

The union has staged a number of temporary strikes over the last two weeks, angering both employers and countless passengers with massive delays and cancellations.

GDL leader Claus Weselsky said its members could walk off the job soon “as long as we don't receive offers from the employers.”

While no strike had been scheduled for Tuesday, the GDL said it was likely to take action during this week.

“There are enough reasons for us to continue fighting together for our goals, even with longer strikes,” Weselsky said.

The GDL 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.

Over the weekend the German Chambers of Industry and Commerce (DIHK) said that an extended strike by train drivers could have serious consequences for the country's economy.

DIHK boss Martin Wansleben told the Berliner Zeitung on Saturday that the economy was dependent on a reliable transport system.

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"Many industries depend on 'just-in-time' production," said Wansleben. "It would only take a few days for strikes in rail-freight transport to cause production disruptions, because cancelled train consignments can often not be immediately re-routed via road or domestic ship."

Wansleben was responding to a warning from the train drivers' union GDL that they want to concentrate more strikes on freight.


The Local (news@thelocal.de)

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Your comments about this article

20:13 March 7, 2011 by catjones
When auto workers strike, the company suffers. When rail workers strike, the people suffer and that's the difference.

How about if emergency room workers struck or utility workers?
11:02 March 8, 2011 by lwexcel
Every time they hold these strikes public opinion sways more in favor of their opponents. If they continue to do this trade/exports will be affected, profits will be lower, and companies may slow their plans for hiring, or even worse begin to layoff workers. I fully support fighting for a adequate wage, however these drivers can only strike so many times before the public becomes fed up.
13:19 March 8, 2011 by anabi
Screw the planet... this is why owning a gas guzzling car is a *good thing*... I haven't seen the wife in months, now the day I'm to go see her they go on strike and the costs of other methods (airfares) have been jacked up to unaffordable... Murphy's Law would have been avoided if I'd just shipped my auto when I moved
14:22 March 8, 2011 by pacali
I don't know about the public opinion, but I am mad at DB for being so stubborn, not the workers. Comparing them to emergency room workers is a bit over the top, don't you think?

What we have to do is SUPPORT THE BAHN WORKERS and call the COMPANY and COMPLAIN. The more complaints the company gets, the more pressured they will be to give in to the workers.

Sure, it is not nice to complain to the people on the phones who have nothing to do with the whole thing, but they are payed to endure that and I believe lots of complaints would be reported to the top...
14:33 March 8, 2011 by stux
Rather than going on strike three times a year, maybe they should find new jobs.

If there is a shortage of workforce, maybe DB will be more willing to pay higher salaries.

If I remember correctly they want a 5% raise? More than what most people get.
15:46 March 8, 2011 by DoubleDTown
I don't blame the staff for wanting more money, who wouldn't, but frankly this is just driving me further away from DB. Service is spotty, inconsistent, expensive, already. Yeah, the managers made some bad decisions (EUR 90,000,000 for a teflon roof on the Dresden Hauptbahnhof that ripped apart from weight of snow, really EUR 90,000,000) but striking is just a bad decision by the staff. Fill 'er up with E10....
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