The multi-day strike by the train drivers’ union GDL is gaining momentum: freight traffic had already stopped operations on Tuesday evening, and numerous railway employees also stopped work on Wednesday night. The industrial action is expected to last until Friday evening at 6 p.m.
Deutsche Bahn’s emergency timetable is once again in effect, with a good 80 percent of the usual service being canceled in long-distance transport. There are also far-reaching restrictions in regional transport, although the severity varies from region to region, the railway said. The company had previously failed in a final attempt at the Hesse State Labor Court to legally overturn the industrial dispute. The strike coincides with the nationwide farmers’ protests, which could lead to traffic disruptions again on Wednesday.
Rallyes, rallies and blockades on motorway entrances have been announced – this threatens to be a strenuous day for commuters in some places. The strike at the railway is the third and longest so far in the current collective bargaining dispute between the German Locomotive Drivers’ Union (GDL) and Deutsche Bahn. The railway company Transdev is also on strike. Restrictions can still be expected in the hours after the strike officially ends.
Passengers are asked to postpone their planned journeys
Passengers can find out whether their own train is running or not via the railway’s usual information channels. The emergency timetable is already included there. Passengers are asked to postpone their planned journeys between Wednesday and Friday. According to Deutsche Bahn, the train connection for all tickets during the strike period from January 10th to 12th has been lifted. Customers can still start their journey in the days afterwards. The railway asked the GDL on Tuesday evening to return to the negotiating table. Transport Minister Volker Wissing also called on both sides to negotiate. “A way has to be found that both sides can get along with. To do this, we have to talk to each other,” said the FDP politician Bild.
GDL boss Claus Weselsky, however, emphasized that it was up to the railway to present an improved offer. “The question of shortening the strike is not up for debate,” the 64-year-old made clear. Since the beginning of November, the GDL has been fighting with the railways and other railway companies for higher tariffs. The core of the current collective bargaining dispute is the union’s demand for a reduction in weekly working hours for shift workers from 38 to 35 hours. The railway considers this requirement to be unfulfillable. She is only willing to talk to the union about expanding existing working time models.
Union boss Weselsky rejects this and points to agreements already agreed with the smaller railway companies Netinera and Go Ahead. The GDL had implemented the required reduction in working hours there in the past few weeks. The outstanding degrees should now also be structured according to this model. In the current tariff dispute, the GDL has already called for warning strikes twice, but these lasted a maximum of 24 hours in passenger transport. In December, the union let its members vote on indefinite strikes. Around 97 percent of participants were in favor of this. Since then, longer strikes have been possible.