Due to the warning strike by the EVG union, Deutsche Bahn will stop long-distance traffic on Friday from 3 a.m. to 1 p.m. This was announced by the group on Wednesday. A gradual ramp-up of long-distance trains is expected from 1 p.m. The DB regional traffic is largely canceled in the morning.
The sister union Verdi has also called for warning strikes at Düsseldorf, Cologne/Bonn and Hamburg airports on Thursday and Friday. However, the unions had not coordinated, according to the EVG.
On the rails, Deutsche Bahn has already adjusted its passengers to “significant restrictions”. In long-distance traffic in particular, the day was “more or less over,” said Group HR Director Martin Seiler in Berlin on Wednesday. “Anyone who can reschedule should do so.”
EVG wants to increase pressure on employers
He initially left open whether the group basically leaves ICE and IC trains in the depots. “As always, we will provide our travelers with as much goodwill as possible,” he said. In regional transport and on the S-Bahn, it must be checked whether the trains can get back on the route during the course of the day.
The EVG has called on its members for Friday morning between 3 a.m. and 11 a.m. for a nationwide warning strike at Deutsche Bahn and several dozen other railway companies. The union wants to increase the pressure on employers in the ongoing wage dispute.
The day before, Verdi had announced all-day work stoppages at the three airports in Cologne/Bonn, Düsseldorf and Hamburg in the aviation security area, in passenger control, personnel and goods control and in service areas. “In connection with the strike, longer waiting times up to and including flight cancellations or cancellations are to be expected,” the union warned on Tuesday. The aviation industry criticized the renewed strike.
2.5 million public sector employees
Verdi is currently in a collective bargaining dispute with the federal and local governments for around 2.5 million public sector employees. The fact that air and rail transport will be on strike at the same time on Friday is a coincidence, emphasized EVG negotiator Kristian Loroch on Wednesday when announcing the actions. Unlike the coordinated, large-scale warning strike in the transport sector at the end of March, both unions had not agreed in advance for Friday.
“We are not concerned with punishing passengers,” said EVG collective bargaining officer Cosima Ingenschay. “On the contrary: We are only interested in increasing the pressure on the employer.” The union is currently in the second round of negotiations with around 50 railway companies about higher tariffs. At Deutsche Bahn, the negotiations should continue next Tuesday. In the negotiations with the industry, the employee representatives are demanding at least 650 euros more per month or twelve percent for the upper income groups and a term of twelve months.
Bahn board member Seiler criticized the actions on Wednesday: “This strike is completely useless and unnecessary,” he said. On Friday, the busiest day of the week, the campaign hit many commuters “particularly hard”. Seiler defended his own suggestion that the collective bargaining with the EVG should be based on the recently presented arbitrator collective bargaining compromise of the public sector. “Why shouldn’t what’s good for the 2.5 million public sector workers also be good for 180,000 railway workers?” he said.
Proposal of the arbitrators
The EVG strictly rejects this. “We are not part of the public service and we were not part of the arbitration process either,” emphasized Loroch. “We have sent demands and we simply expect the demands to be dealt with.”
Independent arbitrators proposed a solution last weekend in the wage dispute in the public sector. This initially provides for a tax and royalty-free inflation adjustment in several stages of a total of 3000 euros. From March 2024 there will then be a base amount of 200 euros and then a wage increase of 5.5 percent. The unions want to negotiate the proposal with the federal and local governments next weekend.
The EVG had already organized a first warning strike at the end of March together with the Verdi trade union. At that time, not only regional and long-distance rail traffic, but also air and ship traffic were completely paralyzed for a whole day.
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