German train drivers call for new strike on Thursday

17th October 2007, Comments 0 comments

17 October 2007, Berlin (dpa) - The militant German train drivers union GDL called a strike for Thursday after rejecting a new pay offer by national rail company Deutsche Bahn (DB) as "unacceptable." GDL deputy chairman Claus Weselsky said on Wednesday the strike would affect regional and commuter trains from 2 am until 11 am. A court ruling last week barred the union from targetting long-distance and goods services. Weselsky said the strike would continue on Friday as well as next Monday, Tuesday and Wedn

17 October 2007

Berlin (dpa) - The militant German train drivers union GDL called a strike for Thursday after rejecting a new pay offer by national rail company Deutsche Bahn (DB) as "unacceptable."

GDL deputy chairman Claus Weselsky said on Wednesday the strike would affect regional and commuter trains from 2 am until 11 am. A court ruling last week barred the union from targetting long-distance and goods services.

Weselsky said the strike would continue on Friday as well as next Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday if DB did not meet the union's demands for a separate contract and improved pay.

The GDL staged a daylong stoppage on October 12, causing widespread disruptions to commuter and regional traffic.

DB on Monday made the union a revised pay offer as part of what it said was a new contract, but the union said this did not go far enough.

GDL boss Manfred Schell said the offer of a lump-sum payment of an additional 1,400 euros (1,990 dollars) was "insufficient" as it was effectively compensation for overtime that had already been worked by the union's members.

He said that a key GDL demand - for a separate contract - had not been met.

GDL officials said they would not negotiate on the new offer, as it did not differ from that agreed with two other unions representing the bulk of rail workers and already rejected by the train drivers.

The GDL, which represents 80 per cent of Germany's 20,000 train drivers, is demanding a 31-per-cent wage hike, although Schell has made clear this is negotiable, while the demand for a separate contract is not.

DB has agreed a 4.5-per-cent wage hike with the Transnet and GDBA unions representing 134,000 workers, plus a one-off payment of 600 euros.

A labour court banned strikes targeting goods and long-distance passenger traffic, but the union has appealed the decision and a verdict is expected next week.

DB carries more than 5 million passengers daily, most of them on shorter journeys.

German couple "raided church moneyboxes for nine years"

Stuttgart (dpa) - Police believe they have caught offenders who have emptied 12,000 offertory boxes in German churches in the past nine years, stealing a total of a quarter of a million euros (355,000 dollars).

The woman, 57, and her male partner, 44, had been living off the proceeds.

Visitors donate for the upkeep of churches or pay for brochures by putting coins into such boxes through a slot. A priest grew suspicious of how the couple felt a moneybox at length.

He jotted down their car licence plate number in a hymnal. When the car returned to the car-park of the same shrine in the town of Zell am Harmersbach, he called police.

"He was spot on," a policeman said Wednesday of the priest.

The police found 150 euros in coins on the couple, who have criminal records, and 6,800 euros in coins and banknotes in dozens of plastic bags at the woman's filthy apartment near the south-western city of Freiburg.

The woman admitted she also took valuable crosses and religious paintings if she could. She went on her "business trips" all over southern Germany two or three times a week by car, train or bus.

Police also found masses of foreign coinage and even pre-1945 banknotes. Donors often leave useless currency in offertory boxes. Following admissions, the couple were granted bail.

DPA

Subject: German news

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