Just a few months ago there was a collective bargaining dispute at the railway, and now the next one is coming up. “The signs seem to point to a storm,” says Claus Weselsky from the GDL. Will a compromise be found?
In the first round of collective bargaining with the German Locomotive Drivers’ Union (GDL), Deutsche Bahn submitted an offer. The offer includes an eleven percent increase in wages over a period of 32 months, the company announced.
This corresponds in volume to the collective agreement of the federal public service. The railway has also promised a tax- and duty-free inflation compensation bonus of 2,850 euros.
“With such an offer in the first round, we have taken a big step towards the German Locomotive Drivers’ Union,” said Human Resources Director Martin Seiler. “Now it becomes clear whether the GDL is really interested in serious negotiations.” The GDL under its boss Claus Weselsky is demanding at least 555 euros more per month for employees. The union wants to enforce a term of 12 months.
However, the railway does not address one of the union’s core demands in its offer: the GDL wants to reduce the working hours for shift workers from 38 to 35 hours per week with full wage compensation. The railway rejects this as “not feasible”. “DB would have to hire 10 percent more employees to close these gaps,” it said. “And this in a historically tight labor market.”
Weselsky: Compromises are always possible
GDL boss Claus Weselsky emphasized before negotiations began that there would be no agreement on this issue without a compromise. “Without a reduction in working hours there will be no collective agreement,” he said. “The signs seem to point to a storm.” And: “For a strike to occur, the employer either has to make no offer at all or a bad offer.”
But he also signaled a willingness to compromise. “We’ll see what happens on the first day of negotiations,” he said this morning in Berlin. Compromises are always possible. The union’s requested reduction in working hours for shift workers could also be implemented in steps. “Strikes only happen when negotiations have broken off or failed.”