The rail network is at its limit, the infrastructure is ailing. For rail union leader Burkert, one thing is clear: if you want to make rail the number one means of transport, you have to spend a lot of money.
The chairman of the railway and transport union (EVG), Martin Burkert, is demanding more money for rail transport from transport minister Volker Wissing (FDP). “The rail has continued to age. In the last decade it has always been neglected. Now everyone is waiting to see whether Minister Wissing will make his announcement and give priority to the rail,” said Burkert of the German Press Agency.
The basic prerequisite for the success of rail transport is long-term and secure financing. “We need 90 billion euros by 2027. So 45 billion euros of fresh money so that something can really succeed and rail becomes the number 1 mode of transport,” said Burkert, who is also a member of the Supervisory Board of Deutsche Bahn.
The DB is struggling with significant problems in the infrastructure, the rail network is increasingly at the capacity limit. For passengers, this is reflected not least in the many unpunctual long-distance trains. At the same time, the federal government has set the goal of getting significantly more people on the rails, and the market share of freight transport is also to increase here.
Getting fit for the future
In the coming years, Deutsche Bahn wants to make the most important routes fit for the future with general renovations. For this purpose, these routes are to be completely closed for a few months in order to fundamentally rehabilitate or modernize them.
“If you’re serious about the Deutschlandtakt, the digitization of the interlocking technology, the general renovations, then you have to invest now,” said Burkert. The next few months are crucial. “In the first year, the Minister of Transport was rather cautious. Now it is decided whether he will set accents.”
Burkert has been chairman of the EVG since October. He previously sat in the Bundestag for the SPD from 2005 to 2020. From 2014 to 2017 he was chairman of the transport committee, from 2005 to 2013 railway officer of the SPD parliamentary group.
Collective bargaining between EVG and DB begins in Fulda on Tuesday. The union demands at least 650 euros more per month for around 180,000 employees. According to its own statements, it wants to achieve an increase of twelve percent in the higher remuneration. DB was asked to submit its own offer at the start of the negotiations – otherwise there was a risk of warning strikes.