Status: 15.11.2023, 04:49 a.m.
By: Klaus-Maria More
The German Locomotive Drivers' Union, or GDL for short, will strike nationwide from 15 p.m. on Wednesday (22 November), including in Bavaria. What to expect in the Free State.
Munich – There is (almost) no train to anywhere from Wednesday, 22 p.m., to Thursday at 18 p.m. This was announced by the GDL on Tuesday evening, blithely continuing the rail strike year 2023. Already in the spring and early summer, an escalating wage dispute, at that time between EVG and Verdi on the one hand and various transport companies including Deutsche Bahn on the other, paralyzed large parts of Bavarian traffic.
The display board at Munich's main station from the last GDL strike shows what ran and what didn't run at the time: The DB trains are largely cancelled, the BRB connection to Lenggries (last line, track 34) is running. © Ralph Peters via www.imago-images.de
Big rail strike in Bavaria on Wednesday and Thursday: That's why the strike is taking place
The GDL conducts its own collective bargaining and, among other things, its demand for a 35-hour instead of 38-hour week with full wage compensation at DB is met with incomprehension, to say the least. DB offered a fare increase to eleven percent in several stages, which the GDL rejected as "ridiculous" in return. The negotiations have not even failed. A new round of negotiations is scheduled for Thursday and Friday (16 and 17 November).
In advance, the GDL apparently wants to show how determined it is – and what power it has. That is why there is now a work stoppage for 24 hours from Wednesday evening with a little more than 20 hours' notice. And this should be clearly felt by all those who depend on rail as a means of transport. As is well known, the GDL represents a small minority of all railway employees in Germany, but in one occupational group, as the name already reveals to the union, it holds a clear majority of around 80 percent: train drivers.
Rail strike in Bavaria: These trains are affected
In view of the last major GDL industrial action in 2021, widespread train cancellations are to be expected throughout Bavaria from Wednesday evening. However, there are exceptions, more on that below. Above all, all DB connections in Bavaria will be affected, i.e. all regional trains (RB), regional expresses (RE), Intercitys (IC) and, of course, the ICE connections to and from Bavaria. Attention: The S-Bahn trains in Nuremberg and Munich are also operated by DB, so there is a risk of many cancellations or even complete standstill.
Major rail strike in Bavaria: Is there an emergency timetable?
Yes, an emergency timetable is already in the bag, DB announced in advance. About 20 percent of the connections are to be served despite the strike. In addition, the most important ICE routes, such as Hamburg-Munich via Cologne and Frankfurt, are planned to run with a monster ICE, which will be several hundred meters long. What exactly the plan looks like is currently being worked out by the DB dispatchers, who will probably have to work a night shift. It is also clear that one thing will not happen, namely a large-scale SEV (rail replacement service) with buses. DB does not have its own buses and no bus drivers and therefore rarely gets an SEV regulated even in the event of individual, more spontaneous connection failures.
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GDL strike in Bavaria: These trains should still run
The second largest railway after DB in Bavaria is the Bayerische Regionalbahn, which used to run under various smaller brands, such as BOB or Meridian, and belongs to the mega transport group Transdev. Transdev is also a negotiating partner in the wage dispute. So there could also be failures in the BRB. However, the GDL is much less represented there. Other railway companies in Bavaria are Agilis, Go-Ahead Bavaria and the Länderbahn. They are not directly involved in collective bargaining. One thing is clear: The GDL calls on all members in all companies to go on strike. However, the trains of Deutsche Bahn will be mainly affected.
There may also be cancellations because DB route employees are following the strike call. This is because the route network is almost exclusively managed by the railway subsidiary DB Netz. Clearly, all public transport connections, i.e. subway, bus, tram, are not affected by the strike call.
By the way: GDL boss Claus Weselsky already revealed in a big interview with our editorial team at the end of October that he would expect a hard labor dispute.
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