Day two of the GDL union’s train drivers’ strike. The railway’s emergency timetable remains stable. Union leader Claus Weselsky speaks at a rally in Stuttgart.
Deutsche Bahn’s emergency timetable remained stable on the second day of the strike by the German Locomotive Drivers’ Union (GDL). “The trains are running and you can travel even during the strike,” said Deutsche Bahn board member Stefanie Berk in Frankfurt am Main, referring to long-distance transport. The offer works reliably. Travelers should continue to find out about their train connection and reserve seats online.
As with the GDL’s previous labor disputes in the ongoing collective bargaining dispute with the federally owned company, around a fifth of the long-distance trains are in use. “That is also our plan for the next few days,” said Berk. There are also extensive restrictions in regional transport, although they vary in severity.
According to its own information, the railway uses longer trains with more seating capacity, especially on the main routes. This is particularly true for main connections, for example in the north-south corridor, where many travelers travel.
Weselsky speaks at the rally in Stuttgart
The train drivers’ union GDL is on strike on Deutsche Bahn’s long-distance, regional and freight transport until Monday. Despite the significant impact of the six-day rail strike on travelers and commuters, GDL boss Claus Weselsky believes public opinion is on the side of the strikers. “It is not the published opinion that reflects how people feel about this strike, but public opinion,” he said at a rally in Stuttgart.
This is definitely different because “the majority of people in this country are employees – regardless of their qualifications, regardless of which industry or company they work in.”
Thuringia’s Prime Minister Bodo Ramelow (Left Party) expressed understanding for the strike. Deutsche Bahn is to blame for the escalation. “I don’t understand at all what the railway’s strategy is,” he told the editorial network Germany (RND). There is no arbitrable offer. Instead, the railway board repeatedly tries to take legal action against the GDL. The goal is apparently to destroy the union. “But that really makes them a fighting organization. I can only shake my head in amazement,” said the ex-railway arbitrator.
Rail strike is “playing with fire”
The federal government’s railway commissioner, State Secretary Michael Theurer (FDP), however, once again called on the union to return to the negotiating table. “With new and ever-longer strikes, the climate-friendly mode of transport, rail, is increasingly becoming less attractive,” he told the RND. “Anyone who has previously considered switching from the car to the train now has another counter-argument,” he added. “It’s playing with fire.”
In addition to wage demands, the collective bargaining dispute primarily revolves around working hours. The GDL is calling for the weekly working hours for shift workers to be reduced from 38 to 35 hours while wages and salaries remain the same. The railway rejects this. As part of an election model, it has so far offered a one-hour reduction to 37 hours without any financial losses. Anyone who decides against this should receive 2.7 percent more money instead.