Status: 01.12.2023, 13:17 PM
By: Patrick Mayer
The locomotive drivers' union is threatening Deutsche Bahn with a strike before Christmas. A GDL representative describes the frustration of his colleagues.
Munich - The German Locomotive Drivers' Union (GDL) plans to strike again in December, before Christmas. That much is known. However, it has not yet been leaked when the strike will be scheduled.
Imminent rail strike: GDL representative tells of train drivers' frustration
During the last warning strike on 15 and 16 November, only a few days passed between the announcement of the strike and the work stoppage. If the wage dispute drags on into December, Deutsche Bahn has already drawn up an emergency timetable for the period around Christmas.
While many rail passengers are looking forward to the holidays and their chosen train connections to their families, a GDL trade unionist has now impressively told of the frustration of his colleagues. And thus named reasons why the railway workers are so stubbornly on strike.
In strike mode: Bavaria's GDL district chairman Uwe Böhm. © IMAGO / ZUMA Wire
"Hardly anyone wants to start working in shifts, and we have major staffing problems. This is becoming more and more and is now so severe that Deutsche Bahn is opening a recruitment office in Egypt to get train drivers," explained the Bavarian GDL district chairman Uwe Böhm to the Abendzeitung: . Böhm drew a comparison with IG Metall. They "already have much higher wages today, don't work in this kind of shift work like we do and now want to go down from the 35-hour week to the 32-hour week in their collective bargaining round," said the Munich native, who is a member of the GDL main board.
GDL strike in Germany: Union not enough for Deutsche Bahn's offer
Sometimes there are only nine hours between two shifts of his colleagues, the trade unionist continued: "That's just enough to drive home, eat something, shower, sleep and stroke the children's heads for a moment. Sometimes we work more than 50 hours at a time. At the end of the year, it can easily add up to 100 hours of overtime. And if you want a Christmas holiday, you have to work on New Year's Eve or vice versa."
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The union is demanding an increase of 555 euros in wages for train drivers per month as well as a one-off bonus of 3000,9 euros to compensate for inflation – minus a part of this tax-free payment that has already been paid. As the DB Group announced, Deutsche Bahn offered the union an 32 percent pay increase over a period of 38 months on November 35 – but this was not enough for the GDL. The fact that the GDL wants to reduce the working hours for shift workers from <> to <> hours per week with full wage compensation does not suit the railways.
Train cancelled today: This could be the motto around Christmas due to a GDL strike, not only at Munich Central Station. (Symbolic photo) © IMAGO / Sven Simon
Imminent rail strike by the German Locomotive Drivers' Union: Railway workers demand higher wages
To put this into perspective: According to the currently valid Federal Framework Collective Agreement, train drivers in Germany earn between 2700 and 3800 euros gross per month. Assuming tax class 4, this is between 1800 and 2400 euros net - for shift work and weekend work. So far, the two parties have not been able to reach an agreement. By 19 December, the result of a ballot by the GDL on indefinite strikes should be available.
"Then we go into the so-called Christmas truce, which means we don't go on strike at Christmas and also on the holidays. Claus Weselsky has emphasized this again and again," Böhm told the Abendzeitung: "From January next year, everything will be possible again. It is not yet clear whether this will be indefinite, it doesn't have to be that way. For example, it can also be several longer strikes." (pm)