Rail union maintains 50-hour warning strike

Late on Thursday evening and on Friday morning there was another struggle – but Deutsche Bahn did not prevent the announced warning strike on the rails.

Even the most recent negotiations could not change anything: the train will be on strike for 50 hours from Sunday evening with major consequences for travelers and commuters. After talks late into the night and an ultimatum by Friday noon, the EVG union decided to stick to the planned walkout.

Because all professional groups at Deutsche Bahn are called on to go on warning strikes, DB long-distance traffic will be suspended from Sunday evening, 10 p.m. to Tuesday evening, midnight. There will also be restrictions before that: the train has canceled some connections on Sunday afternoon. Hardly any trains will run in regional traffic either.

“We were willing to compromise to suspend the announced warning strike and enter into negotiations. The DB AG Instead, they prefer to split up and take the passengers hostage,” criticized the EVG. The railways asserted that they “until the last minute tried everything” to avert the warning strike. “We approached the EVG again and have confirms that the issue of the minimum wage will not fail,” said HR Director Martin Seiler.

Sticking point minimum wage

The EVG demands at least 650 euros more per month for the employees or twelve percent for the upper income with a one-year term. Deutsche Bahn recently offered tax and duty-free inflation compensation of a total of 2850 euros and from March 2024 a gradual wage increase of a total of ten percent for the lower and middle wage groups and eight percent for the upper wage groups – with a term of 27 months. The EVG considers this to be non-negotiable.

The biggest point of discussion is currently the minimum wage, which around 2,000 employees at Deutsche Bahn only receive in the form of allowances. Both sides are arguing about whether this will be included in the tariff tables before further negotiations and to what extent the further negotiation results will then be taken into account for the lower wage groups.

50 hours downtime – no alternative?

The duration of what is now the third warning strike this year is a clear sign of the union – the announced failures also show the influence they have in collective wagering. The decision by the railways to almost completely stop rail traffic caused some sharp criticism on Friday. “The EVG is not so well organized at the network subsidiary DB Netz that Deutsche Bahn would be forced to stop rail traffic,” said Claus Weselsky, chairman of the train drivers’ union GDL, the news portal The Pioneer. A railway spokesman described this criticism as “absurd”. A replacement timetable is not possible.

If you are out for more than two days, it will no longer be so easy for many commuters and travelers to postpone their trips. In addition, the warning strike ends right before the Ascension weekend – and thus one of the busiest times of the year for travel. Even without a labor dispute, the trains for the days from Wednesday were very well booked.

Tickets still valid after the end of the warning strike

The railways tried accordingly to persuade passengers to move their journeys forward. The passenger rights make it possible to use the tickets even after the end of the warning strike, as a railway spokesman said. Either way: Both on Sunday and after the warning strike, the trains will be very crowded. Deutsche Bahn warns of “extraordinarily high occupancy rates”.

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With the warning strike, the EVG also wants to affect the transport of goods and goods by rail. “In the area of ​​​​freight traffic, traffic jams will arise, which will actually lead to economic pressure, which we obviously need,” said Cosima Ingenschay on Thursday.

From the point of view of the wholesale association BGA, the strike will affect the areas that depend on timely deliveries, such as the car industry or construction. Delivery delays are to be expected here – also because many employees in the transport sector cannot come to work.

Restrictions in systemically important supply chains, for example for food or medical devices, are not to be expected. The BGA announced that the stocks were sufficiently filled for two days. Even in the classic railway business areas of coal and ore, the walkout is too short to have serious effects, according to the Federal Association of Road Haulage, Logistics and Waste Management.

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