Train drivers call strike against vital goods traffic

7th November 2007, Comments 0 comments

7 November 2007, Berlin (dpa) - German train drivers organised in the militant GDL union are to target goods traffic in a two-day strike starting Thursday in support of demands for a substantial wage increase and a separate labour contract with state-owned rail company Deutsche Bahn (DB).

7 November 2007

Berlin (dpa) - German train drivers organised in the militant GDL union are to target goods traffic in a two-day strike starting Thursday in support of demands for a substantial wage increase and a separate labour contract with state-owned rail company Deutsche Bahn (DB).

GDL boss Manfred Schell made the announcement, which had been anticipated since the end of last week, at a news conference in Frankfurt Wednesday.

The strike would begin at midday on Thursday and last until 6 am Saturday, Schell said.

He warned that failure by DB to respond would result in an unlimited strike targeting goods and passenger traffic next week.

Earlier Wednesday, Chancellor Angela Merkel rejected a request from DB Chairman Hartmut Mehdorn for the government to become involved in resolving the dispute.

Merkel said it was long-standing tradition in Germany that politicians did not become involved in labour contract talks.

The union represents some 15,500 of Germany's 19,600 train drivers.

Strikes called by the GDL since July have in the past hit commuter and regional passenger for periods ranging from a couple of hours to 30 hours.

Economic experts have warned that an extended strike targeting the 4,800 goods trains that run daily on the 34,000-kilometre network could result in costs of up to 50 million euros a day. Many of the trains cross international borders.

The steel, motor vehicle and chemical industries are expected to be worst hit, along with coal deliveries to power stations.

DPA

Subject: German news

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