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Second GDL warning strike paralyzes parts of rail traffic


Highlights: Second GDL warning strike paralyzes parts of rail traffic. According to the GDL, strikes in the new year will be longer and more intense. If 75 percent of participants are in favor of the strike, it is expected to be called off. The strike is mainly over demand for working hours for shift workers from 38 to 35 hours with full wage compensation. The sticking point in both cases is the G DL's demand for a reduction in the weekly working time for shift worker from 38-35 hours. The GDL boss has ruled out further industrial action.

Status: 08.12.2023, 03:40 a.m.

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The warning strike on the railways has begun nationwide. © Bodo Marks/dpa

Since late Thursday evening, rail traffic has been at a standstill in large parts of Germany. Can the union persuade the employers to make concessions in this way?

Berlin - A 24-hour warning strike in long-distance and regional transport will once again bring far-reaching restrictions for passengers this Friday. The new strike by the German Locomotive Drivers' Union (GDL) began on Thursday evening at 18:00 p.m. in rail freight transport. Four hours later, the union extended the industrial action to passenger trains.

Hours before the start of the warning strike, Deutsche Bahn had already withdrawn numerous connections from the program. This meant that passengers were not threatened with a night-time stop on the open track. In addition, the trains will be right where they are needed at the start of operations after the end of the industrial action.

As with the previous warning strike in the current round of collective bargaining, Deutsche Bahn expects to be able to run around one in five long-distance trains. In regional traffic, on the other hand, hardly any trains are likely to be on the road, especially in the south of Germany. The railway is still struggling with the effects of the snow chaos of the past few days, especially in Bavaria.

Dispute mainly over demand for working hours

In addition to Deutsche Bahn, the competitor Transdev, among others, is on strike by the GDL. For example, the Nordwestbahn and the Rhine-Ruhr Railway of the group in North Rhine-Westphalia are affected. Transdev workers were also called to a warning strike in Hanover and Central Germany.

In the meantime, the GDL has declared the collective bargaining of both companies to have failed. The sticking point in both cases is the GDL's demand for a reduction in the weekly working time for shift workers from 38 to 35 hours with full wage compensation. Employers have so far refused to do so.

GDL boss Weselsky told the Düsseldorf "Rheinische Post": "As sorry as I am for the customers, we have no other choice at the moment." Customers should complain to the railways, not to the union.

DB fears backlog of more than 300 freight trains

For freight transport, the warning strike comes at a particularly bad time. Due to the weather conditions in Bavaria, a large backlog had already formed in the past few days. "At the beginning of the strike, 170 DB Cargo freight trains were waiting to continue, and now more trains are being cancelled. It is to be feared that this number will double," said a railway spokesman. It cannot be ruled out that the warning strike will also lead to standstill assembly lines in industry. "Supply-relevant trains will be brought to their destinations with priority," the spokesman said.


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Deutsche Bahn criticised the GDL's industrial action as irresponsible overall. This Sunday, the company wants to change the timetable. Additional trains, long-distance and regional transport connections are then to come. The warning strike shortly before the timetable change is causing additional stress in the control centres.

The German Association of Towns and Municipalities criticized that the warning strike had been announced at far too short notice. Citizens and municipalities have practically no time to change, said chief executive Gerd Landsberg of the "Bild". The GDL harms millions of people and the climate.

Christmas truce up to and including January 7

After the warning strike, passengers can take a deep breath for the time being. Up to and including 7 January, GDL boss Weselsky has ruled out further industrial action. After that, everything is possible again. The strikes in the new year will be "longer and more intense," Weselsky said on Thursday on Bavarian Radio. By then, the result of the ballot on indefinite strikes is also expected to be available. If 75 percent of the participants in the vote are in favor of it, the GDL can call for much longer labor disputes, even lasting days.

In addition to great annoyance among passengers, problems for the economy would also be expected in such a case. According to DB, DB Cargo supplies German power plants with around 50 trains full of hard coal per week. Delays in delivery led to problems in the fuel supply with a delay. The steel mills are also dependent on deliveries by train: If the supply is not available for two to three days, blast furnaces may have to be shut down. Dpa

Source: merkur

All news articles on 2023-12-08

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