German train drivers vote for strike

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Rail passengers in Germany were bracing for delays and cancellations Monday as train drivers voted for an unlimited strike over pay and conditions.

The GdL union, which says it represents 75 percent of Germany's 26,000 train drivers, said that 92 percent of its members from state-run Deutsche Bahn and 96 percent of those working for private firms voted for strike action.

GdL however did not specify if the strike would take place or for how long. A total of 81 percent of members took part in the vote.

The union is pushing for a salary increase for Deutsche Bahn employees and for pay practices at the former monopoly to be brought into line with competitors.

"If employers want conflict, we will not disappoint them," said GdL head Claus Weselsky in a statement.

The GdL has already staged three warning strikes, which lasted only a couple of hours each but paralyed the transport system as trains quickly got out of position.

In 2007, GdL brought the country to a standstill with a series of strikes, at the time only at Deutsche Bahn.

© 2011 AFP

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