German rail executives meet strike leaders
20 November 2007, Frankfurt - Two top executives of German rail company Deutsche Bahn huddled in talks Tuesday with the two unionists leading a series of strikes that have jolted German industry.
20 November 2007
Frankfurt - Two top executives of German rail company Deutsche Bahn huddled in talks Tuesday with the two unionists leading a series of strikes that have jolted German industry.
Although Germany's strikes have been less disruptive than this week's all-out stoppage in France, business leaders have angrily called for a settlement before more harm is done.
A threat of more strikes appeared to be on hold Tuesday. The meeting, called under pressure from the federal government in Berlin, was secret and Manfred Schell, leader of the maverick drivers' union GDL, later had no comment about it.
HR, a public broadcaster, said Bahn chief executive Hartmut Mehdorn and his chief of personnel Margret Suckale flew to an airfield south of Frankfurt, met the unionists and departed again by light plane.
HR said the talks with Schell and his deputy, Claus Weselsky, took place in the airfield cafe.
Berlin officials said earlier the quartet would simply talk about talks, and not yet about the issues. Later, German Transport Minister Wolfgang Tiefensee admitted the two sides remained far apart.
The GDL halted German freight trains for 62 hours last week and has repeatedly knocked out suburban passenger services in pursuit of its demand for recognition as the drivers' sole voice, separate from two bigger unions.
Subject: German news