German train drivers call 30-hour strike from Thursday

23rd October 2007, Comments 0 comments

24 October 2007, Berlin (dpa) - German train drivers said Monday they would hold a 30-hour strike later this week to press their demands for a hefty wage increase.

24 October 2007

Berlin (dpa) - German train drivers said Monday they would hold a 30-hour strike later this week to press their demands for a hefty wage increase.

A spokesman for the GDL union said the stoppage - the fourth in two weeks - would affect commuter and regional services from 2 am on Thursday until 8 am on Friday.

The union is seeking a pay rise of up to 31 per cent and a new contract for the 16,000 train drivers it represents. State-owned rail operator Deutsche Bahn has offered 10 per cent for a longer working week plus a one-off payment of 2,000 euros.

The GDL has rejected the offer saying it was no better than the 4.5 per cent deal struck with two other unions representing 134,000 rail workers.

The rail operator has ruled out a separate contract for the drivers, fearing it could trigger similar demands by other branches and make wage negotiations more difficult.

Deutsche Bahn human resources director Margret Suckale said a sector-wide agreement was the only way to ensure the rail operator remained a successful and profitable operation.

Train drivers staged a nine-hour stoppage across the country on October 18, hitting commuter services and causing chaos on the roads in major cities.

The union is hoping that a labour court hearing set November 2 will result in the lifting of a ban on strikes affecting long- distance and goods services.

Deutsche Bahn, Europe's biggest rail operator, carries more than 5 million passengers daily. The government wants to partly privatise its operations by 2009.

DPA

Subject: German news

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