Deutsche Bahn and the GDL train drivers’ union have concluded a collective agreement. “We have an exhausting week behind us,” GDL boss Weselsky said at a joint press conference with Deutsche Bahn’s director of human resources Martin Seiler.
The agreement calls for a 3.3% wage increase over a 32-month period. In December 2021, salaries will be increased by 1.5% and again by 1.8% in March 2023. In addition, all employees receive a Corona allowance twice. In December 2021, there are 300, 400 or 600 euros, depending on the income group. Then in March 2022 400 euros for all employees.
An amicable solution was also found for the retirement provision. The GDL therefore gave its approval to the project to restructure the company pension scheme; The old supplementary pension system will not be maintained for employees in post until 2022, he said. Employees who join the company by the end of this year will still benefit from the previous conditions.
“The Gordian knot has been cut. We have come to a difficult compromise,” said Bahn’s personnel manager, Seiler. The bridge between employees and employers as well as rail customers has been a success. With this deal, the railroad could stay the course.
The Prime Ministers of Lower Saxony and Schleswig-Holstein, Stephan Weil (SPD) and Daniel Günther (CDU), who also took part in the press conference, played a mediating role and helped calm the conflict. Weselsky thanked the two politicians for their mediation. “The last ten days have been worth it,” said Günther. The first conversation was a bit bumpy, but then the conversations were characterized by a willingness to negotiate and a focus on solutions. Perhaps “the North German calm of two prime ministers” has been a bit helpful, Günther said. “We had an interest far beyond Deutsche Bahn in resolving this very long collective bargaining dispute,” Weil said. The two tariff partners would have “regrouped”, but in the end “there are only winners here today”.
Federal Transport Minister Andreas Scheuer welcomed the agreement in the wage dispute between Deutsche Bahn and the train drivers’ union GDL. The result is and is a “relief for millions of rail customers and also for the German economy,” said the CSU politician.
The railroad had met the train conductors at the weekend and had promised an additional element of pay. The GDL ended its third and so far the longest strike in this round of collective bargaining on Tuesday last week. The group had already tried in vain to ban the strike. Last week, the union threatened to start preparing for the next labor dispute earlier this week if company management did not submit an improved offer by then.
For the first time, the GDL also concludes collective agreements for workers in workshops and administration in addition to training staff, but not for infrastructure. The two sides also agreed on a procedure to determine which union has the majority in the respective railway companies. According to the Unified Collective Bargaining Act, it depends on which collective agreement is applied. The GDL is in the majority in 16 of the 300 or so railway companies, in 71 companies, this remains to be determined.
However, the collective bargaining dispute may not yet be definitively closed. The largest railway union EVG announced on Thursday that it would present the company with a catalog of demands. “We are preparing for negotiations, but also for measures including industrial action,” said EVG boss Klaus-Dieter Homme. The EVG had already concluded an agreement with Deutsche Bahn last year; However, it includes a special right of termination in the event that another union makes the most of it.