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GDL Union

GDL Union Announces 24-Hour Strike, Disrupting German Rail Services Over Pay and Hours Dispute

Berlin, March 11, 2024, The Europe Today: The ongoing dispute between the GDL train drivers’ union and Deutsche Bahn (DB) has escalated further, with the GDL calling on its members to go on a 24-hour strike starting early Tuesday. The strike is set to impact passenger trains, commencing at 2 a.m. local time until the same time on Wednesday, with freight train drivers joining the industrial action from 6 p.m. on Monday.

The GDL, embroiled in a protracted disagreement with DB over pay and working hours, issued a statement on Sunday evening confirming the strike. Claus Weselsky, the chairman of GDL, expressed the union’s frustration, stating, “Since the DB board has submitted no new offer from January 19 until now, this leads unavoidably to industrial action. For the GDL, this is the last resort.”

Deutsche Bahn responded by urging the GDL to return to the negotiating table, emphasizing their commitment to reaching a resolution through dialogue. However, the GDL has maintained that an improved offer from DB is a precondition for resuming negotiations. The standoff has persisted for weeks, and Tuesday’s strikes mark the sixth round of industrial action in this ongoing conflict.

DB’s head of personnel, Martin Seiler, emphasized the company’s belief in achieving an agreement through negotiation, asserting, “We are convinced we will only achieve an agreement at the negotiating table.” The core demand from the GDL includes a transition to a standard 35-hour work week, replacing the current 38-hour week without a change in remuneration. DB contends that such a change is economically unfeasible and would exacerbate existing staffing and recruitment challenges.

The regular disruptions to trains and planes in Germany have become a familiar challenge for commuters and travelers, adding strain to an already complex situation. As the impasse continues, both sides appear entrenched in their positions, prolonging the uncertainty for passengers and raising concerns about the broader impact on transportation and logistics across the country.