German rail faces further strikes

5th October 2007, Comments 0 comments

5 October 2007, Berlin (dpa) - Germany's economically vital rail network faces further disruption next week, with both sides in a pay dispute refusing to shift their positions after a limited strike called by the main train drivers union on Friday. The militant GDL drivers union said a new round of strikes could be called as early as Monday. GDL boss Manfred Schell described the three-hour stoppage by some 15,000 drivers organized in the union as a "success," with regional and commuter traffic seriously di

5 October 2007

Berlin (dpa) - Germany's economically vital rail network faces further disruption next week, with both sides in a pay dispute refusing to shift their positions after a limited strike called by the main train drivers union on Friday.

The militant GDL drivers union said a new round of strikes could be called as early as Monday.

GDL boss Manfred Schell described the three-hour stoppage by some 15,000 drivers organized in the union as a "success," with regional and commuter traffic seriously disrupted.

Schell's deputy, Guenther Kinscher, said the travelling public could bank on further strikes.

"I do not exclude the possibility of further strikes on Monday," Kinscher told n-tv television news.

Margret Suckale, human resources chief at national rail company Deutsche Bahn (DB), said the state-owned company would not bow to GDL demands for a 30-per cent wage hike.

Suckale said DB stuck by the 4.5-per-cent deal struck with two other rail unions, plus increased overtime pay that would bring the wage rise to around 10 per cent. She called on Schell to return to the negotiating table.

The emergency timetable put in place by DB on Friday had been effective, with around half of all trains operating, she said.

The war of words between DB and the GDL intensified, with Schell accusing management of playing games and leaking confidential negotiation details to the media.

DB spokesman Oliver Schumacher responding that GDL was insulting management with his statements.

"Even worse than these verbal blunders is the fact that Mr Schell has lost all sense of reality," he said.

The largest rail union, Transnet, called on both sides to return to talks.

Friday's strike went ahead following a labour court ruling outlawing strike action targeting long-distance passenger traffic and goods trains. GDL condemned the court ruling as interfering in the collective bargaining process.

Deutsche Bahn agreed to a 4.5-per-cent pay increase with the 134,000 rail workers represented by the Transnet and GDBA unions in July.

GDL rejected the offer as unsuitable for the 80 per cent of Germany's nearly 20,000 train drivers it claims to represent.

More than 5 million passengers use Deutsche Bahn services every day, the vast majority of them travelling on its regional and commuter trains.

DPA

Subject: German news

0 Comments To This Article