Rail strike? Half as wild, many sounded after the first "warning strike" with which the railway workers' union EVG brought rail traffic to a standstill for a day at the end of March. And this was before any serious negotiations had even taken place. Some stayed in the home office, others took the car or postponed, less amused, appointments.
But now the fun is over. When the EDC calls for a 50-hour standstill with double fury and now also blocks freight traffic, it is using its right to strike in a highly questionable way. After all, it is still in the negotiation phase, and a warning strike may build up the potential to threaten. If it effectively imposes a rail lockdown on the entire country for three days, it will be heavily overstretched – especially since employers have long since moved significantly.
Does the EVG want to spare its coffers?
The EDC gives the impression that it wants to save its coffers with the early, disproportionate warning strikes. It does not pay compensation to strikers for warning strikes. There will only be money if an official strike is initiated after the failure of the negotiations by ballot.
The EDC is also opposed to an emergency service roadmap that ensures that transport chains for essential goods, such as gas and coal or material that Ukraine needs for defence, remain intact. The traffic light government should no longer shy away from enforcing such a basic service. The right to strike is not limitless. It should send a political signal that the country will not be able to offer everything.
This would also be a small reminder that strikes should not be the first resort in industrial action, but the last resort. The EVG does not respect this, because it wants to bind members with the demonstration of power in order to assert itself against the competition of the train drivers' union GDL. She shows no interest in a quick solution. The result is obvious, because Verdi has recently provided good orientation with the strong collective bargaining agreement for the public sector. The railway employers know that they will not get off cheaper. The EVG should not play poker higher, but show with a willingness to compromise that it also knows its responsibility for the customers and the company.