German train drivers suspend strike action

10th August 2007, Comments 0 comments

10 August 2007, Berlin (dpa) - German train drivers said Friday they would suspend all strike action at least until August 27 while mediation proceeds in a pay dispute with Deutsche Bahn (DB), the state-owned rail company. The decision by the GDL, which represents most train drivers, came after a labour court in the southern city of Nuremberg conditionally lifted a ban on strikes targeting goods and long-distance passenger traffic on DB's network. GDL boss Manfred Schell said mediation in the bitter disput

10 August 2007

Berlin (dpa) - German train drivers said Friday they would suspend all strike action at least until August 27 while mediation proceeds in a pay dispute with Deutsche Bahn (DB), the state-owned rail company.

The decision by the GDL, which represents most train drivers, came after a labour court in the southern city of Nuremberg conditionally lifted a ban on strikes targeting goods and long-distance passenger traffic on DB's network.

GDL boss Manfred Schell said mediation in the bitter dispute would begin in the middle of next week.

DB board member Norbert Bensel welcomed the decision as "allowing our clients to plan in advance," and DB pledged to refrain from any action aimed at the GDL.

Schell had expressed anger that DB lawyers had initiated a series of strike-breaking court applications without informing the GDL's legal team.

On Thursday the two sides agreed on two mediators, the veteran politicians Heiner Geissler and Kurt Biedenkopf, both 77 years old and former leading figures in Chancellor Angela Merkel's Christian Democratic Union (CDU).

The GDL union called out its staff on city services in Berlin and Hamburg for two hours during the morning peak on Thursday, causing widespread disruption to commuters.

The union is demanding a 31-per-cent pay rise for its members and a wage deal separate from that entered into by DB with other unions.

DB has struck a deal with a 4.5-per-cent pay hike with two other unions representing 134,000 workers.

About 8,000 train drivers organized in the GDL voted for a strike in a ballot, the results of which were announced Monday. The strike comes ahead of the planned part-privatization next year of the national rail network.

DPA

Subject: German news

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