German train drivers call weekend walkout

17th October 2014, Comments 0 comments

Rail travellers in Germany face an entire weekend of disruptions, cancellations and delays after the train drivers' union on Friday called for a new nationwide strike.

The GDL union called on its members to walk out from 3:00 pm (1300 GMT) on Friday on freight services and from 2:00 am (0000 GMT) on Saturday on long-distance and regional passenger services.

The stoppages would last until 4:00 am (0200 GMT) on Monday, GDL said.

The union accused national rail operator Deutsche Bahn of stone-walling in ongoing pay talks.

Deutsche Bahn slammed the new industrial action -- the fifth in recent weeks, including the latest walkout on Wednesday -- as excessive.

"With its 50-hour strike on a holiday weekend, GDL and its chairman Claus Weselsky has lost all sense of proportion," the company said in a statement.

"GDL is running amok," it said, pointing out that the autumn school holidays began or ended this weekend for half of Germany's 16 regional states.

Deutsche Bahn said it would publish a contingency timetable later on Friday.

GDL is calling for a five percent wage hike and a shorter working week of 37 hours and has complained that there had been no substantial negotiations with management so far on those demands.


© 2014 AFP

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