Due to the strike by the German Locomotive Drivers’ Union (GDL), train cancellations and delays continue to occur across the country. Deutsche Bahn’s long-distance and local traffic trains had started stably on alternate schedules, the railway said. In long-distance traffic around 25% of trains run, in regional traffic it was around 40% on Wednesday – with strong regional differences. We can expect something similar for Thursday.
The east is always more affected by the strike than the west: in the West German regional networks in particular, a few more trains could run because there are even more train conductors who are civil servants who do not have the right to travel. strike. Due to the GDL’s higher degree of organization in the east, there were hardly any trains between Berlin, Leipzig and Dresden on Wednesday.
In Bavaria, for example, the S-Bahns in the greater Munich area are severely affected by the strike. They should drive at least every hour. A cycle of 20 to 40 minutes is planned on certain lines in the state capital. For line 8 to the airport, the replacement schedule provides for a 20-minute cycle. In the capital of Baden-Württemberg, Stuttgart, trains should run on the most important lines every hour if possible.
At stations in North Rhine-Westphalia, the situation has so far been calm, said a spokesperson: “We feel that most travelers are informed”. In Cologne, where the railway reported Wednesday morning of a “tense situation”, the situation has now stabilized. Even Thursday, however, there could still be short-term failures and wait times.
By its own statements, the railroad is doing everything in its power to get regular operations as quickly as possible after the Friday night strike. The union does not want to strike on weekends, as GDL boss Weselsky said. Other labor disputes are to be discussed next week. “I don’t promise you that it will be over on Friday. But we are careful about our collective bargaining power.”
The train drivers’ union is fighting for more money and better working conditions for its members at Deutsche Bahn. Unlike the largest railway and transport union (EVG), it does not want to accept zero wages this year. The GDL wants to score points with the employees in the internal balance of power with the EVG.
Walter-Borjans: customers are “duped by almost unexpected strike actions”
The GDL is demanding salary increases of around 3.2% as in the civil service and a corona bonus of 600 euros for the current year. The duration of the collective agreement is 28 months. There is also a struggle for corporate pensions. Due to billions in losses caused by the pandemic, the railroad wants to spread the increase to later stages, with a contract term of 40 months. In addition, there would be benefits for the retirement provision and the exclusion of dismissals for operational reasons. The railroad was unsure whether it would make another offer to the GDL.
The competitors of Deutsche Bahn, which have considerable market shares in regional and freight transport, are not on strike. According to their associations, they only experienced isolated disturbances on Wednesday.
Criticism of the GDL strike comes not only from the railways and company representatives, but also from the traditionally pro-union SPD. Their party leader Norbert Walter-Borjans stood alongside the workers in an interview with the Germany editorial network, but warned that effective representation of interests requires “a regrouping of forces and understanding among travelers”. This would not succeed “if the groups of railway employees were divided and customers were duped by virtually unannounced strikes”.
According to a Yougov poll, 31% of Germans understand the GDL strike. In the more severely affected east, the value is therefore a little higher at 39 percent than in the west (29 percent). Nationally, more than one in two (55%) do not understand the strike.