Warning strikes: EVG: “We could paralyze the railway for weeks”

warning strikes
EVG: “We could paralyze the railway for weeks”

The lettering appears on the display board on a platform at Schwerin Central Station "ECG strike!" displayed.  Photo: Jens Büttn

On the display board on a platform at Schwerin main station, the lettering “EVG strike!” displayed. photo

© Jens Büttner/dpa

After the unsuccessful third round of negotiations between Deutsche Bahn and the EVG trade union, there are signs that the fronts are becoming harder. The EVG can certainly imagine longer strikes.

The railway and transport union (EVG) has threatened warning strikes over several days in the wage dispute with Deutsche Bahn. “We could paralyze the railway for weeks,” said negotiator Cosima Ingenschay of the “Süddeutsche Zeitung” (Friday).

Two warning strikes should have been enough to get a negotiable wage offer from Deutsche Bahn. “But the railways are obviously not interested in serious negotiations,” said Ingenschay, who is conducting the negotiations with Kristian Loroch for the union.

According to Ingenschay, the next warning strikes will last longer. “The effects obviously have to be more massive for it to hurt the employer.” It is conceivable that the EVG would start campaigns in different regions one after the other. Or that train attendants and other professional groups go on strike in turn. But these are all still conceptual models. “The railway system is so fragile that if we take out a few interlockings, everything will collapse. The new strikes could have an effect for several days,” said Ingenschay.

DB boss: Don’t drag out the collective bargaining round any longer

Deutsche Bahn called on the EVG to continue negotiations as quickly as possible. “Our employees are waiting for money, our passengers expect solutions,” said rail boss Richard Lutz in Berlin. “We therefore call on the EVG to continue the negotiations immediately and not to drag out the collective bargaining round any further.” A solution is possible and urgently needed.

Deutsche Bahn declared the talks of the third round of negotiations to be over last Wednesday. The reason given by the state-owned company was the refusal of the union to negotiate the new offer from Deutsche Bahn for around 180,000 employees. In addition to tax and duty-free inflation compensation totaling 2850 euros, it provided for a gradual increase from March next year of a total of 10 percent for the lower and middle wage groups and 8 percent for the upper wage groups.

The union rejected the offer as non-negotiable. It demands at least 650 euros more per month or twelve percent for the upper income group and a term of one year. The next negotiation date at the railway is scheduled for the end of May.

Lutz emphasized that the current employer offer is the highest in the company’s history. “We’ve more than doubled our initial offer and taken a huge step towards union.” The EVG acts with an attitude of refusal “which is neither useful nor understandable”.


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