Status: 07.12.2023, 14:43 PM
By: Lisa Mayerhofer
From Thursday evening until Friday evening, there will be massive train cancellations. The GDL trade union has announced a strike at short notice.
- The train drivers' union GDL has announced a warning strike for Thursday evening and on Friday.
- Massive train cancellations expected: Deutsche Bahn puts emergency timetable for warning strikes online.
- Wage dispute and shortage of skilled workers: GDL boss Weselsky accuses Deutsche Bahn of having no solutions.
Update from December 7, 14:25 p.m.: Rail passengers need good nerves at the moment anyway in the face of weather chaos and warning strikes - and it probably won't get better anytime soon, if GDL union boss Claus Weselsky is to be believed. For the period after the Christmas holidays, he announced longer and more intensive strikes on Thursday on Bayerischer Rundfunk (BR). The board of Deutsche Bahn is "at least 50 percent responsible and is fueling the conflict," Weselsky said.
Weselsky emphasized the necessity of the new warning strike, which is to last from Thursday evening to Friday evening: Deutsche Bahn with Chief Human Resources Officer Martin Seiler "rejects the negotiations on the reduction of weekly working hours, he rejects negotiations on collective agreements for dispatchers." Weselsky does not accept Deutsche Bahn's argument that a reduction in weekly working hours is not possible due to a lack of staff. One has to think about cause and effect: "The reason is that the shift system as such is unattractive." Today, people value quality of life, the famous work-life balance.
The GDL chairman assured on the radio station Bayern2 that the current warning strike will be the last this year: "We will count the ballot on December 19 and we will not strike in the first week of January, but after that the strikes will be longer and more intense." However, he does not wish this for passengers or freight transport customers.
Update from 7 December, 13.30 pm: The passenger associations and Deutsche Bahn are grumbling about the short-term announcement of the warning strike. But the German Locomotive Drivers' Union (GDL) is defending itself: With the rail strike, it wants to emphasize, among other things, the demand for a reduction in working hours for shift workers.
Rail strike of the GDL: Union boss Weselsky with harsh criticism – "Employers' side has zero solution"
"For two years now, the railway has been lacking new trainees," said GDL boss Claus Weselsky in an interview with tagesschau24. "This means that we already know that not enough people want to take up the profession anymore, but the employer side has zero solution," says Weselsky. The railways must gradually reduce the weekly working hours in order to make the shift system more attractive again, especially for younger people. But this is exactly where Deutsche Bahn sees no room for negotiation and Weselsky declared the wage negotiations to have failed.
GDL boss Weselsky accuses Deutsche Bahn of not having any solutions. (Archive photo) © Fabian Sommer/dpa
Rail strike on Thursday and Friday: emergency plan online
Update from December 7, 12:45 p.m.: Deutsche Bahn's emergency timetable for the warning strike of the German Locomotive Drivers' Union (GDL) is now available online. "All connections of the emergency timetable can now be called up in the information media on bahn.de and in the DB Navigator app," the group announced in the morning. In addition, the railway has again set up a strike telephone number. Affected passengers can call 08000-996633 to find out about their connections.
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GDL warning strike: Massive train cancellations on Thursday and Friday
Berlin – Another warning strike, thousands of train cancellations again: The industrial action of the train drivers' union GDL will hit rail traffic Thursday evening and Friday. Deutsche Bahn advises its customers to refrain from non-essential travel or to postpone it. The Group has drawn up an emergency timetable for long-distance transport, but the effects are likely to vary greatly in regional transport. The most important information in detail:
A train attendant walks to a parked train near Rostock Central Station. (Archive photo) © Bernd Wüstneck/dpa/Symbolbild
When exactly will the warning strike take place?
The official start of the warning strike in passenger transport is this Thursday at 22:00 p.m. However, passengers should be prepared for train cancellations in the hours before. During the previous warning strikes, Deutsche Bahn tried to park the trains where they are needed after the walkout. According to the GDL, the industrial action is to last until Friday, 22:00 p.m. In freight transport, the industrial action will begin at 18:00 p.m. on Thursday evening.
GDL strike: Is only Deutsche Bahn affected?
No. Employees of Deutsche Bahn, including the S-Bahn companies in Berlin and Hamburg, as well as the railway companies Transdev, AKN and City-Bahn Chemnitz as well as other companies, have been called upon to stop work.
In long-distance, regional and freight transport, considerable disruptions are therefore to be expected nationwide. As with the first GDL warning strike, Deutsche Bahn wants to maintain around 20 percent of long-distance traffic again. According to the company, however, this will not be possible in Bavaria because they are still dealing with the consequences of the heavy snowfall.
Which regions are particularly affected by the strike?
Experience has shown that many employees are organised by the GDL, especially in the eastern German states and in the southwest. As a result, regional transport is unlikely to be able to operate in many places. "In regional transport, the goal is to run a greatly reduced service. The extent to which this is possible varies greatly from region to region," DB said.
Where can I find out more about my train?
Whether a long-distance or regional train is running or not can usually be viewed via the Deutsche Bahn app or the Deutsche Bahn website. According to DB, the emergency timetable should be stored there from Thursday afternoon. A strike hotline has been set up for individual information (08000 99 66 33).
Warning strike: What happens to my ticket?
All passengers who wish to postpone their trip scheduled for December 7 or 8 due to the strike will be able to use their ticket at a later date. "The train connection has been lifted. The ticket is valid for the journey to the original destination, even with a changed route," it said.
Seat reservations can be cancelled free of charge. In addition, as part of a special goodwill gesture, passengers also have the option of bringing their journey forward and leaving on the Thursday before the strike begins. If the booked train is cancelled, a full ticket refund is also possible.
Warning strike: What happens to my ticket?
In the current round of collective bargaining, the union wants to fight for a reduction in the weekly working hours for shift workers from 38 to 35 hours. Deutsche Bahn rigorously rejects this. GDL boss Claus Weselsky therefore declared the negotiations to have failed and criticized the fact that no compromises could be found with the state-owned company.
In addition to the reduction in working hours, the union is demanding an increase of 555 euros per month as well as an inflation compensation bonus. Deutsche Bahn had offered eleven percent higher fees for a term of 32 months, as well as the inflation compensation premium.
When will the next strike come – before Christmas?
No. The GDL has now clearly stated that this week's industrial action will be the last one up to and including January 7, 2024.
For the time after that, however, it is completely unclear how the wage dispute will continue. The union plans to announce the result of a ballot among members on 19 December. If more than 75 percent of voters vote in favor of indefinite strikes, the union is likely to call for much longer industrial action.
On the other hand, there is currently no progress in sight at the negotiating table. The fronts between the GDL and the railways have hardened, and there is no way out yet. In January, it could therefore remain restless on the rails.
With material from dpa