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Deutsche Bahn Employees to Go On Strike for Third Time within a Month

The wage dispute between Deutsche Bahn and the GDL has not been resolved. Now, the union announced another strike. It is the third one since August 11th. This time, the walkouts are supposed to last longer.

Berlin, August 31st, 2021. Update: 10:46 a.m. CEDT (The Berlin Spectator) — Deutsche Bahn and the locomotive engineer’s union GDL are not so far apart. The state-owned company already agreed to a pay raise of 3.2 percent. The dispute is about the question when exactly the raise will kick in. Another point at issue is a one-time Corona bonus for the employees. While the union insists on 600 Euro per person, Deutsche Bahn has not said what amount it would agree to.

‘Walkouts Not Justified’

In the past weeks, the discussion has not made any headway. On August 11th, the GDL staged a two-day strike. Shortly after, on August 21st, more walkouts commenced. In this case, they lasted for four days. This time, the union announced a five-day strike. It is supposed to commence on Wednesday afternoon. This is when the walkouts will affect freight trains. Starting on Thursday, most passenger trains will not be in service yet again.

Claus Weselsky, the GDL’s President, said his union would stage one of the longest strikes now, and it would do so on purpose. The Deutsche Bahn’s management had provoked the new walkouts by not making a new offer, Weselsky stated. The employers at Deutsche Bahn asked the union to return to the negotiating table. Walkouts were not justified because the positions were not so far apart.

International Traffic Affected

Unless the two parties conclude an agreement within the next few hours, passengers will have to expect serious train traffic disruptions from Thursday until Monday of next week. The fact that some of Germany’s federal states are still on holiday, does not make things easier. Vacationers will be affected. So will business travelers and commuters. Deutsche Bahn also runs parts of the public transport system in large cities, including the ‘S-Bahn’ city trains in Berlin.

On its website, Deutsche Bahn (DB) warned its passengers. Disruptions needed to be expected. This included international train connections from and to Belgium, the Netherlands, France, Switzerland, Austria, Italy, Czechia, Hungary, Poland and Denmark, the company said. According to the information DB provided, tickets can be returned without charge. Tickets purchased for specific trains may be used on other connections.

Less ‘S-Bahn’ Trains

Separately, DB announced train traffic in Germany’s federal states would be affected, including regional and long distance trains. In Berlin, the number of ‘S-Bahn’ trains that are in service will be decreased substantially. According to the RBB radio and TV network, the ring train around the German capital will not be in service for several days. In all cases, deutsche Bahn intends to keep at least 25 percent of all trains moving during the strike.

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