German train drivers launch new strike
14 November 2007, Berlin - German train drivers launched a new strike on Thursday in the latest round of a long-running pay dispute with state-owned rail operator Deutsche Bahn.
14 November 2007
Berlin - German train drivers launched a new strike on Thursday in the latest round of a long-running pay dispute with state-owned rail operator Deutsche Bahn.
Goods traffic was the first casualty of the 62-hour stoppage that began at midday (1100 GMT) across the country and was set to continue when drivers of passenger trains cease work at 2 am on Thursday.
The sixth strike in five months is set to last until 2 am Saturday, in the first action by the GDL union to target both goods and passenger traffic since the dispute began in March.
The union is demanding an independent wage contract and pay hike of up to 31 per cent for the 15,500 of the 19,600 Deutsche Bahn drivers it represents.
Government spokesman Thomas Steg said the industrial action was having a negative effect on the German economy and appealed to both sides "to show reason and return to the negotiating table."
GDL boss Manfred Schell said Tuesday he had no interest in further talks until a "negotiable offer" was tabled. Deutsche Bahn has appealed to the GDL to discuss the offer it made on October 15.
Schell met Deutsche Bahn chairman Hartmut Mehdorn for secret talks on Monday afternoon without success.
The union put forward its demands for a new wage contract in March and staged its first walkout four months later. The last strike targeted goods traffic and ended after 42 hours on November 10.
The union has threatened to call an indefinite strike next week if the rail operator does not put forward an improved offer.
Subject: German news