The collective bargaining dispute at Deutsche Bahn has been dragging on for three months. Both sides only move towards each other in small steps. After all, negotiations are taking place – or are warning strikes threatening again?
During the negotiations in Fulda, Deutsche Bahn presented a new tariff offer – the reaction of the railway and transport union EVG is now expected on Tuesday. The railway had given the union up to and including this evening to respond.
The union confirmed to the dpa on Monday evening that it would make a decision on Tuesday. It is expected that the delegations from both sides will meet for new talks in the next few days. Shortly after receiving the offer, the EVG announced last Thursday that it wanted to continue negotiations quickly.
EVG probably not satisfied yet
The new DB offer for a good 180,000 employees provides twelve percent more money for the lower, ten percent more for the middle and eight percent more for the upper income groups. The increases are to take place in two stages, the first in December 2023. In addition, DB offers the payment of 2850 euros inflation compensation premium – 1450 euros expected in July, another 1400 euros in November. The term on offer is 24 months.
With the offer, the railways have taken a step towards the union, but based on the current negotiating position, the union should not be satisfied with it. Basically, the EVG demands at least 650 euros more per month or 12 percent more for the upper income groups. According to the union, the term of the collective agreement should be twelve months. The DB offer is ultimately still a long way from these requirements.
Therefore, it cannot be ruled out that the union will first come to the negotiating table again, but that it could also emphasize its demands again with a warning strike in the next few weeks. It finds itself in a complicated situation that goes beyond the pure collective bargaining result.
Third warning strike prevented
Membership growth also plays a major role for unions during collective bargaining – and when a union goes on strike, membership numbers tend to increase significantly. So far, the EVG has twice called for a warning strike in the ongoing collective bargaining dispute. A third and particularly long warning strike was called off at short notice after a legal dispute with DB.
The EVG is also in competition with the Union of German Locomotive Drivers (GDL), whose collective agreements at Deutsche Bahn only apply to a good 8,000 employees, but which is known for its tough behavior in collective bargaining and thus also advertises for members and influence. On June 5, the GDL wants to announce what demands it will make in the collective bargaining talks with DB in the fall. It is quite possible that the EVG wants to wait for the announcement of the competition before concluding its own contract.
The tariff conflict between DB and EVG has been going on since the end of February. At the beginning the talks were very sluggish, but the fourth round of negotiations last week in Fulda was at least rated as constructive by both sides.