German rail ready for looming all-out strike

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Deutsche Bahn (DB), Germany's state-owned railway, has prepared itself for an all-out strike by the main train drivers' union, a board member said.

23 December 2007

Berlin (dpa) - Deutsche Bahn (DB), Germany's state-owned railway, has prepared itself for an all-out strike by the main train drivers' union, a board member said in an interview published Sunday.

DB would do all in its power to resolve the eight-month dispute by January 7, from when the GDL union says it intends to call its 15,000 drivers out on strike, Georg Brunnhuber told the Sunday edition of the mass-circulation Bild newspaper.

"But if the GDL takes up a stubborn position, DB is ready. We have around 1,000 additional drivers available to counter a new strike," Brunnhuber said, predicting the company could keep 80 per cent of its trains running.

He also warned that DB's board would back a hard line by management in the event of an unlimited strike by the GDL, which has since July called its drivers out on several limited strikes that have hit commuter and freight traffic particularly hard.

The two sides held talks Saturday at an undisclosed location after Transport Minister Wolfgang Tiefensee had intervened last week to pressure them to resume negotiations.

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