German rail chief under "huge pressure" to halt strikes

25th November 2007, Comments 0 comments

25 November 2007, Berlin (dpa) - The head of Deutsche Bahn (DB), Germany's state- owned rail system, is under "huge pressure" to strike a deal with a train drivers union that has repeatedly crippled rail services with strikes in recent weeks, a news report said Saturday. Der Spiegel news magazine said DB Chairman Hartmut Mehdorn was coming under pressure from politicians and from the DB board to strike a deal. Mehdorn put forward a new offer to the GDL union this week under conditions of secrecy, and GDL b

25 November 2007

Berlin (dpa) - The head of Deutsche Bahn (DB), Germany's state- owned rail system, is under "huge pressure" to strike a deal with a train drivers union that has repeatedly crippled rail services with strikes in recent weeks, a news report said Saturday.

Der Spiegel news magazine said DB Chairman Hartmut Mehdorn was coming under pressure from politicians and from the DB board to strike a deal.

Mehdorn put forward a new offer to the GDL union this week under conditions of secrecy, and GDL boss Manfred Schell has pledged a response by Monday.

National public radio reported Saturday that Mehdorn had offered the train drivers 13 per cent more pay.

Deutschlandfunk said Mehdorn had himself revealed the figure on the sidelines of an event in Neu-Ulm in the southern state of Bavaria.

Mehdorn had stressed there would be no separate contract with train drivers, contradicting media reports that DB had conceded this key demand to the GDL, the broadcaster said.

Another report said the GDL was set to reject the deal, on the grounds that it does not provide the union with the total autonomy in wage negotiations that it has demanded.

German wage negotiations are traditionally conducted in a single bargaining round across the entire sector to avoid competition between unions. The German government has stuck by longstanding practice of not intervening in wage talks.

A 62-hour goods strike last week, caused severe disruption to the service.

Normally around 4,800 freight trains run on the network. The power generation, steel, carmaking and chemicals sectors were worst hit by the strike.

More than half the German public back the striking drivers, many of whom take home considerably less than 2,000 euros (3,000 dollars) in monthly pay.

DPA

Subject: German news

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