German union to decide Saturday on possible rail strike

5th January 2008, Comments 0 comments

A train drivers' union locked in dispute with Germany's state railway company Deutsche Bahn said it will decide on Saturday whether to launch a new round of strikes for more pay.

5 January 2007

Frankfurt (dpa) - A train drivers' union locked in dispute with Germany's state railway company Deutsche Bahn said it will decide on Saturday whether to launch a new round of strikes for more pay.

"There will no no decision today," Claus Weselsky, deputy chairman of the GDL union, said Friday as negotiations between the two sides continued at an undisclosed location.

A union spokesman said the talks might continue on Saturday when the GDL planned to issue a statement at noon.

The union has threatened to call out its 15,000 members and bring passenger and freight services to a halt from January 7 if no agreement to end the long-running dispute is in sight by then.

Earlier Friday, a GDL spokesman said he was optimistic the two sides could reach a deal. "We are moving forward," he said.

Deutsche Bahn declined to comment on the state of the negotiations. The GDL was represented at the talks by its chairman, Manfred Schell.

The two sides, who resumed their discussions on Wednesday after a break for the New Year holiday.

The GDL has staged a series of strikes since July to press their demands, hitting commuter and freight traffic particularly hard.

Transport Minister Wolfgang Tiefensee brought the two sides together on December 22 after the GDL had walked out of the negotiations two days earlier, citing lack of progress.

Deutsche Bahn offered the union a pay rise of at least 8 per cent, but temporarily withdrew the offer after the GDL walkout. The union is insisting on a new labour contract and a hike of 10 per cent or more.

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